Monty Panesar is one of the coveted English cricketers to take the field. A fiery character on the pitch, the left-arm spinner has been one of the most decorated players in the past decade for England.
A left-arm orthodox spinner by profession, Panesar rose to the scene and made his Test debut in 2006 and was one of the focal characters of the English side that beat India in a Test series at their own backyard in 2012.
MyKhel recently had the opportunity to have an interactive chat with Panesar, where he spoke about a plethora of things. From India's hopes in the World Cup to the Bazball, and his love for English Premier League giants Arsenal.
Read the selective Extract of the Interview here-
Mykhel: What is the chemistry that is garnering all the good results for England and their secret behind the resurgence?
Panesar: I think that has to do with probably a foreign style of coaching. England have appointed younger people in administrative roles like Rob Key, also a coach just over 40, who is in touch with the modern game more and has experience with franchise competitions. Also, foreign thinking like New Zealand style of coaching, is slightly different from the English style. I think that's where Brendon McCullum has been brilliant, he encourages his players to play freely.
The game has changed in the last ten years and someone like McCullum has been intuned with the change. And that is evolving in the Test arena.
MyKhel: Is Bazball the way of moving forward in Test cricket?
Panesar: It is just the way England are playing. I think other teams will have their approach, traditional way of going in Test cricket. England in the first Test against Pakistan, they declared and a lot of team wouldn't have done that. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum are prepared to lose a game to win and to produce more impact and entertaining cricket. That really comes down to coaching, board and captain, and ECB has done that. A lot more people are watching Test cricket because of the style that they play, and in Pakistan, it was a great example.
They only won 2 Tests in Pakistan in the last 50-60 years, and then we won 3 Test matches.
Mykhel: Is Ben Stokes going to be an English legend?
Panesar: Well if he keeps going, then Yes. We have a big series coming up in the Ashes and if England win that in a comprehensive manner, then the next stop will be India. I think the last time we won was in 2012 when I was there, and they will be thinking how they can win again in India. For World Cricket, to put his (Ben Stokes) name along Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, MS Dhoni... then, I think he will have to bank on winning in India and other away wins. I think winning away series will be a huge achievement.
Mykhel: What are you making of this current Indian team and their shortcomings in ICC events despite having all the talent?
Panesar: India probably peak too early. They perform well in the bilateral series, but in the ICC events, maybe they rely too much on bigger stars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli. They may have to think giving rest to their star players and give them opportunities in the big games. I think Virat Kohli kind of played the final against Pakistan (in the T20I World Cup), it took a lot out of him and as the tournament progressed, maybe he got mentally and physically tired. India need to make sure they are ready for the big games.
India are a very strong side. And with the ICC World Cup in India, they will be a very difficult team to beat.
Mykhel: Your thoughts on Axar Patel?
Panesar: He caught my eyes against Australia in a bilateral series. He has got the temperament to handle pressure, his batting has also come good. If he keeps performing like he is, he will keep Ravindra Jadeja out. At the form he is in, he deserves a spot in the Indian team.
Mykhel: The emergence of Rehan Ahmed and if he has the ability to become and England regular?
Panesar: The way Rehan Ahmed has responded with the ball, this was the moment to have a look at him. I don't know if he will play regularly, but he will go on trips and may play if Jack Leach is not available. Seeing him, his glass ceiling is high. With Rehman Ahmed, you can say he has got a big future. Wr may see him as a second-spinner in Test cricket, but can become someone like Rashid Khan and can make a huge impact in Franchise cricket.
Mykhel: Your best memory of India?
Panesar: The 2012 series in India.That was massive for us as India were a very strong team. I cherish those memories as those were brilliant moments for me.
Panesar also continued about the Legends League cricket and says the level of that tournament is far more competitive than they initially thought. He also confirmed the English players will come back a lot fitter for the upcoming edition. The conversation then shifted a bit from cricket and moved to football, as Panesar showed the football fan side of him.
Mykhel: I guess you are an Arsenal fan?
Panesar: Yes I am a big Arsenal fan. Martinelli, Saka, Odegaard and the we recently signed a player from Brighton (Leandro Trossard).
Mykhel: Do you think Arsenal gonna get the league this season?
Panesar: Yes, I hope so. This is the best chance for us. We have got a big game against United. The way we are playing in the league, this is our best chance to win the league. Fingers crossed, I will be there, celebrating with the Arsenal fans.
Mykhel: Does Virat Kohli eclipse all his counterparts?
Panesar: I will probably say Virat Kohli in ODI and T20 cricket, and Joe Root edging in Test cricket. But there is not much between them, the appetite is there and they both keep going. It's great to see Virat Kohli back in form and scoring hundreds. It's good to see he has reignited his form.