Monty: Ashes call a huge boost after troubles

England

England spinner Monty Panesar says his selection for the Ashes in Australia at the end of the year has come as a huge boost to his psyche after a tough few months, and is happy to travel Down Under even if he doesn't get to play a match.

England spinner Monty Panesar says his selection for the Ashes in Australia at the end of the year has come as a huge boost to his psyche after a tough few months, and is happy to travel Down Under even if he doesn't get to play a match.

England won the home Ashes three-nil, and Panesar did not play a Test. He knows the trip to Oz will see him pick up some banter from the crowds and players after problems off the field this year, but he's ready for it.

Panesar said in the <i>Mail on Sunday</i>: "I know there's a chance I might not get a Test match in Australia, and I'm sure I'll get some stick from the Aussie players and crowds, but I am determined to be eager, positive, supportive and ready if a chance comes my way.

"I'm hoping I can be involved in a fourth consecutive Ashes victory and I'm very confident I will be, even if it's as a squad member."

Panesar's inclusion came as a relief for the Essex spinner, as he had been in trouble during the home Ashes series for urinating on a night club bouncer while drunk. He was dropped from the squad and fined by police.

He added of the incident's effects: "I just can't tell you how thrilled I am with the selection. It's an incredible boost I needed as a cricketer and as a person, after a chapter in my life I'm ashamed of.

"I know it looks terrible but I wasn't as drunk as people believe. Yes, I'd had a lot to drink, but I wasn't paralytic. I was asked to leave and then got caught short. The next thing I knew the bouncers were shouting at me and running after me.

"I swear I didn't see them and I had no intention of purposefully urinating on them or near them. To be honest, I barely went at all and I'm pretty sure I didn't hit them.The next morning I woke up and thought, 'What have I done?'

"My first reaction was that I'd just thrown my England career away, maybe even my whole cricket career. I felt very lonely and very depressed. It was a very dark time.

"KP [Kevin Pietersen] did send a text telling me to keep my chin up and not to be too worried, which was nice."

The left-armer was again left blushing recently when he was handed a one-game domestic ban after appearing to kick out at Worcestershire batsman Ross Whiteley, but Panesar says he didn't mean to harm the player.

Panesar added: "I wouldn't say I was either threatening or intimidating. But I will admit to becoming incredibly frustrated because I was having no luck at all, with inside edges and catches falling just short.

"I have to be aggressive when I bowl but it was a minor incident that I accept. The ECB and I have spoken about it and I must be mindful of my behaviour, but it's not seen as a problem by England."

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