Sussex left-arm spinner Monty Panesar has targeted a return to the England side and would love to be involved in the 2010/11 Ashes series later in the year.
Panesar, who ranks his Ashes debut in Perth in 2006, where he took five wickets , as his best performance, last played for England in Cardiff in July of last year. On that occasion, his batting made more headlines than his bowling as England salvaged a draw against Australia, and he has subsequently seen both Graeme Swann and James Tredwell overtake him as England’s preferred slow bowling options.
He is hopeful that a move from Northamptonshire to Sussex, via a spell with the Highveld Lions in South Africa, will help him achieve his aim of winning back a place in the England squad.
“I’m really excited about being here at Sussex. I can understand why Sussex has been a successful club over recent years because of the family feel it offers,” he told Cricket World ahead of the 2010 county season.
“I’m in a happy place at the moment, and I perform best when I’m happy and positive about myself and excited about my cricket.
Panesar, capped 39 times in Tests by England, has some big shoes to fill as he leads Sussex’s spin attack – in recent years Pakistan legends Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq have been on the books and he hopes to work again with Mushtaq, now England’s spin bowling consultant, in the future.
“I obviously want to get back into the England team, in all forms of the game. I believe I can play a role in all three forms of the game for England. Hopefully coming to Sussex means I can improve my one-day cricket,” he said.
“When I was out in South Africa with the Lions, I worked really hard on my batting and my fielding. I want to take that forward come the season.
“This year is a massive year – we’ve got the Ashes tour coming up this winter and that’s something I want to be part of. Last time I was in Australia, I was successful and this time around I want to challenge myself against the best again.”
Sussex, relegated from Division One of the County Championship in 2009, open their Division Two campaign when they travel to Glamorgan from 9th to 12th April.
© Cricket World 2010