Essex sign England’s Monty Panesar on a two-year deal

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Essex County Cricket Club are pleased to announce the signing of England spin bowler, Monty Panesar, on a two-year contract. It follows a successful loan spell with the Club during the latter stages of the 2013 season where he played solely in the LV= County Championship format of the game.

After joining Essex ahead of the Colchester Cricket Festival in August, Panesar made six appearances and took a total of 14 wickets.

Panesar, 31, is currently with the England squad for the upcoming Ashes Series in Australia and expressed his delight in signing for Essex after enjoying his time last season.

He said on signing permanently for Essex, “I loved playing for Essex last season. In the short time I was there, I was made to feel very welcome, both in the team and around the Club. I will always remember how the supporters and members gave me a heart-warming round of applause when I first came on to bowl for them at Colchester last August. It helped me to feel respected and loved as a cricketer after experiencing a challenging time in my life.

“I am determined to play my part in inspiring the team to be successful in all competitions. I want to help the club build towards the kind of success they enjoyed in its glory days under legendary captains Keith Fletcher and Graham Gooch. I love the ‘family feel’ of the Club, and value the role Essex has played in helping me move towards my best, and gain selection for this winter’s Ashes Series.”

Essex County Cricket Club, Chief Executive Derek Bowden said, “We are delighted that Monty has decided to join our Club, he liked his time here at the end of last season and we enjoyed having him. He was on top of our list for new players and it’s great to finalise his signing in good time for next season”

Speaking about his decision to sign permanently for Essex, Monty said:

“I loved playing for Essex last season. In the short time I was there, I was made to feel very welcome, both in the team and around the club. I will always remember how the supporters and members gave me a heart-warming round of applause when I first came on to bowl at Colchester last August. It helped me to feel respected and loved as a cricketer after experiencing a challenging time in my life.

“I feel that with quality senior players such as Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Graham Napier, and Dave Masters ‘firing’ alongside James Foster at the helm, we can achieve real progress in 2014. Essex has some very promising young cricketers like Reece Topley, Ben Foakes, Tymal Mills, and Kishen Velani emerging too. If they, and several other young cricketers develop further, and we as senior players deliver consistently, then I believe Essex will be a top team.

“I am determined to play my part in inspiring the team to be successful in all competitions. I want to help the Club build towards the kind of success they enjoyed in its glory days under legendary Captains Keith Fletcher and Graham Gooch. I love the ‘family feel’ of the Club, and value the role Essex has played in helping me move towards my best, and gain selection for this winter’s Ashes series.

“The excellent relationships I developed during my loan period, and the fact that I enjoyed my cricket so much with Essex has made this move an easy decision for me. Paul Grayson and Matt Walker were very helpful last season, and helped integrate me into the team really well. All the players were great too. Obviously, having the likes of Ravi in the team made it easier, and I am looking forward to re-connecting with everyone on my return from Australia.”

Speaking of other factors which led to Monty confirming his future with Essex, he added:

“Paul Grayson and Stuart Kerrison (Head Groundsman) have spoken about the pitches and how they can turn (even in early season), and the fact that they bounce is really helpful too.

“I valued Keith Fletcher’s wise input last season, and to have such experience to tap into will be very helpful as I look to develop further. John Childs has known me since I was a schoolboy cricketer with Bedfordshire, and it was good to re-connect with him last summer as he has always been very encouraging about my cricket. I know Graham Gooch through England too, and it is obvious how much the Club means to him. Cookie is similar – he loves Essex Cricket. Derek Bowden has been very friendly, and clear about his vision as CEO to make the Club the best. With a ground re-development too, it feels an exciting time to be joining Essex. I believe I am joining a group of people who want to see the Club back amongst the elite of English cricket.”

 

On the subject of playing County Championship Division Two cricket possibly affecting his selection for International Cricket, Monty admits that it was a factor in his deliberations but countered it by saying:

“Division Two is where we are in 2014 but I think we should be aiming to win Division One of the LV= County Championship in 2015. Getting on a roll of winning matches in Division Two should be the start, just like Yorkshire did in 2012 before coming runners-up in 2013. Lancashire may do the same in 2014.

“In one-day & T20 cricket, Essex look strong. With the one-day game being 50 overs, I think I can play a key role in helping the team ‘strangle’ the opposition in mid-innings, and also get key players out.

“My success with Sussex was predominantly in First-Class cricket, but I am determined to make a big impact in one-day cricket with Essex, and challenge to play for England in one-day cricket again.

“With England getting ready for a possible fourth successive Ashes series success, Essex’s newest signing is focused on finding his best Test match bowling form in the coming weeks, and challenging for selection in England’s 1st Test side at the ‘Gabba’ in Brisbane on November 21.

“Since the end of the season, I have been preparing hard for the Ashes Tour, as well as studying for my MBA at Loughborough University, and spending time with friends and family. I am looking forward to learning more about Essex’s rich history from Goochie, Cookie, and Andy Flower as the tour of Australia progresses.”

Essex Cricket 2014 Membership Packages

You can be part of Essex campaign in 2014 by becoming a Member. Catch Monty in action with a host of benefit which includes free entry to all home LV= CC & 50-over matches! Find out more information on Monday with the release of the packages and prices!