England's Monty Panesar celebrates Ashes recall and says it's all down to yoga and Ryan Giggs
Monty Panesar’s Ashes recall has brought him more peace of mind – to go with his daily sessions of yoga.
As commonsense prevailed, and England named Panesar as their back-up spinner in Australia this winter, he tweeted “Absolutely thrilled to be in Ashes squad”, with a rash of accompanying hashtags revealing his excitement and positive outlook.
At face value, he is fortunate to make England’s 17-man squad after his ‘Watergate’ scandal last month, when he was arrested in Brighton for urinating on nightclub bouncers .
Also, his 38 wickets in first-class cricket this summer have cost 37.97 each.
But Simon Kerrigan, whose action and temperament fell to pieces on a harrowing debut after he was fast-tracked into the final Test at The Oval, and James Tredwell (13 wickets at 60.51) did not offer the selectors compelling alternatives.
And 10 months after his match-winning comeback in India (17 wickets at 26.82 in three Tests), Panesar’s track record and yoga routines far outweighed the aberration of his nocturnal excesses, which were partly fuelled by the heartbreak of his marriage break-up and disappointment at being overlooked for the Old Trafford Ashes Test.
Panesar was hastily farmed out on loan to Essex – a deal brokered by Lord’s to reboot his career – after Sussex kicked him out.
Twelve wickets in five matches, and more importantly an economy rate of 2.49 runs per over, convinced the selectors he over the worst.
Before he made the cut for Australia, 31-year-old Panesar followed the first rule of yoga when it came to discussing his night of shame: He exercised his right to remain silent.
But now, as before, the virtues of meditation have helped him restore order to his life, and he said: “I do a lot of yoga, on a daily basis, to keep my mind and body fresh.
“I read Ryan Giggs does yoga and I thought, ‘If it’s good enough for one of the greatest Premier League footballers, there must be something in it.’
“I want every ball to be an event – and that can only happen if you have good energy and mentally strong.
“Where England are concerned, I’ve always had the same mindset: I’ve got to make sure I’m bowling well, my rhythm is good and I am equipped to deal with any situation.
“You never know when the next opportunity might be around the corner, and if that chance comes, I need to be able to grab it.”