Monday, September 14, 2009

Missing in Action

With summer clinging on by its fingernails, I cleared some space in the diary for a quick trip down to the Oval to see the hapless Surrey take on promotion hunting Northants - my first view of the Cobblers in the flesh since the days of Alan Lamb.

The most notable sight of the day was the everso depressing one of Monty Panesar wandering around at third man and mid on like a lost sheep. It was the end of the Surrey innings, there were cheap wickets to be had, yet he was second choice spin option behind Nicky Boje - one of a crop of Saffies in the Northants line up.

Monty has now, presumably, been overtaken by Adil Rashid on the selectors spin depth chart – so there’s another person of Asian extraction for Bumble to patronise during his commentary stints – viz, the constant references to the ‘little lad’ in the Sky box during the Oval ODI'er..

The patronising meme still has its followers among spectators too. Even at the Oval with no more than a couple of hundred of people in, someone was still shouting ‘Montee’ in that horrible sub ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ voice – and a few goons were even applauding the most mundane bit of fielding.

Panesar is very unlikely to feature in the South African series (you don't take three spinners there). Swann and Rashid can both bat and it's hugely ironic that Monty's last memorable act in an England line up is going to be a batting rearguard.

It's clear that since his debut in 2006 he's been practicing his batting and fielding - and has made advances in both. Evidence the fact that not only did he hold out at Cardiff, but actually looked comfortable doing it. But in the meantime he seems to forgotten to upgrade his bowling. Shane Warne’s '30 test debuts' comment still carries weight.

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