Panesar: At last, I'm showing the 'Inner Monty' (but I'd still like to bat a bit better)
23:30 GMT, 1 December 2012
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Eleven wickets in Mumbai, including a
glorious double over Sachin Tendulkar, did not merely signify a
successful return to Test cricket for a left-arm spinner seemingly stuck
in the international wilderness.
According to Monty Panesar, the
performance that helped secure only England's second Test win on the
subcontinent in almost three decades was also the culmination of a
two-year search for the 'Inner Monty'.
Left out of the first Test when
conditions in Ahmedabad screamed for his inclusion alongside Graeme
Swann, Panesar might have thought his latest England outing was going to
pan out like most of the others since the first Test of the 2009 Ashes;
thanks for coming, better luck next time.
Cool customer: Monty Panesar has worked on the mental side of his game
But with an exquisite exhibition of orthodox slow left-arm bowling, the 'Montster' was back.
Now, as the third Test in Kolkata approaches, it is India who are under scrutiny and Panesar revealed that, as much as his journey back into the team was about finding a way forward as a bowler, it was also about finding himself as a person.
'When I was out of the side, that was a period when I needed to reflect,' he said.
'I felt I needed to know which direction to take my game. I wanted to take on the responsibility for my own learning so I invested in myself on and off the pitch by going to people away from the England Cricket Board.
'I did some work with Neil Burns [the former Essex wicketkeeper], who runs a sort of a mentoring organisation, and Dr Ken Jennings, a sports psychologist.
'We worked together on the emotional perspective and the mental side of things, seeing what was important for me as a cricketer. I helped build emotional resilience and mental focus. It's given me more sense of who I am. People were saying I needed to have lots of variations. I felt I needed to go back to my strengths, rather than trying to be a bowler I cannot be.
'When I first came into the international arena I was very shy. I'd defer to coaches, captains and players. I wouldn't speak to the coaches or anyone. Put a ball in my hand and I'd be happy to bowl line and length. Now I have a clearer understanding of who I am, what I can bring to a team.'
Inner Monty: Panesar is pleased with his progress
What he brought to England in Mumbai was a way back into the series.
'Coming into the Test I felt under a lot of pressure,' he added. 'I knew I had to be at my best, so my self-belief had to be high. I had to have that mindset where I don't take things for granted but I commit to my processes.
'For instance, when I bowled that ball to Sachin which bowled him, the previous ball was a short ball, so when I was walking back I was thinking: “Get my mind right. How is my breathing” All these things are on the checklist in my mind I was ticking off. It was like I was doing a service on me … an MOT.'
And how he passed it.
He added: 'I know I'm not the world's best batter or fielder, despite all the effort and improvements I've made. I want to play all forms of cricket, to improve in these areas.'
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