“I’ve had a masterclass this week, just from watching Shane Warne in action. I think watching a spinner live is so different from watching on TV and Shane Warne, he’s an absolute magician. Coming from a spinner’s background, to watch him twirl away with different field settings and different tactics, there are so many things that you watch and try to pick up. I’m quite grateful I can watch him live and use the time as best I can. It’s great to watch him bowl, but I haven’t had much chance to speak to him yet,” he says.
Overlooked for the first two Tests, Monty is desperate to play in Perth and says he wants to test himself against Australia’s in-form batsmen.
“I guess if I do get a chance at Perth, it’s going to be a test of my skill as a spinner. In Perth, and Australia in general, the wickets don’t turn so much for fingerspinners, so it will be a test of my cricketing ability. But I would like to be put in these kind of situation, because that’s how you learn about yourself. You develop more as a player when you play in the game.
“If a batsman does come after me, or whatever happens, it will be a great development for myself and a test of my skill, and I’ll get a better idea of where I stand as a spinner when it comes to these conditions. I really am itching to be put in these sorts of situations. It’s important always to be involved in the international environment, because it’s where you improve as a player,” he tells cricinfo.com readers.
Ashley Giles is the man most likely to be dropped if Monty makes it into the Test side, but Panesar says there is no rivalry between the pair and that he genuinely wants Giles to do well for the team.
“A lot’s been made of the contest between me and Ashley Giles, but everyone has their own roles in the team. Every time Ashley has been picked I say “good luck, I hope you do well” and I genuinely mean it as well. Everyone tries their best, and when things don’t go as planned, that’s just a part of the game. I want Ashley to do well. I want him to give the best for our team. No-one means to drop catches. I don’t mean to drop catches. All you can do is support your team-mates.”
Limited batting and fielding skills have been identified as weaknesses in his game, but Monty believes he could one day bat as high as 7 for England. “My batting’s coming along well. I reckon I could one day be a No. 8, or even No. 7. People in the past have told me that. They’ve said you’ve got the potential, you’ve just got to keep learning about batting and keep improving your game. Since last summer my batting has improved, and I know the work I’m doing is going in the right direction. I’ll keep plugging away, and the results could come.”
Monty’s performances in the English summer earned him cult status with fans and have also led to a nomination in the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which is judged this Sunday in London.
“I’ve just heard I’m one of the ten nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. My name was mentioned a couple of months ago but now I’m in the final list. It’s very flattering and I’m honoured to be mentioned,” he tells the world’s most popular cricket website.