Monty Panesar!
July 31, 2006 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Why we love Monty. Just a few months ago, Monty Panesar was the struggling underdog of the England cricket team to some ("from what I've read of his fielding and batting, I think there's potential for him to outdo Phil Tufnell for sheer comedic value"), and downright butt-of-the-joke to others (Ponty turns around and appeals madly. The umpire isn't amused. "What the f*** are you appealing for?" he asks. "The ball," says Ponty, imploringly. "Can I have the ball please?"). After continued improval culminating in a ten-wicket haul (including the key batsmen) against Pakistan last weekend, now the bookies have the turbanator at 10-1 to be BBC Sports Personality of the year. ("Monty is a left-arm finger spinner for crying out loud. What is he doing spinning it a foot? Not even Danish Kaneria, the second best leg spinner in world cricket, could turn it that much"). Quite the turn-around!
posted by nthdegx (21 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yay for Monty!

Having said that, wee correction: he took eight wickets in the second test, not ten. Stunningly good bowling, still. And he's still jumping up and down like a little boy when he takes a wicket...
posted by flashboy at 3:16 PM on July 31, 2006

Yeah, my bad. A misread from the first link on my part. Thanks. The fact that I knew Harmison took 11 should have been something of a clue, eh?

More from The Adventures of Ponty Manesar (I thought this was genius):

Michael Vaughan decides that as this is a practice game, he wants to see both Udal and Ponty in action at the same time. He decides that they will bowl at the same time from the same end. He explains this to them.

“Shaun, you will bowl over the wicket,” he says, “and you, Ponty…”

“I know, I know,” says Ponty. “I will bowl under the wicket.”

posted by nthdegx at 3:26 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

I don't think I've ever watched a cricket match before but got caught up in the England v Pakistan test last weekend because of him. Great post nthdegx!
posted by ceri richard at 3:26 PM on July 31, 2006

Final day's play of the second test on YouTube:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Harmison and Panesar were both on fire. You wouldn't see Giles turning it that far even if he was bowling with a rugby ball.
posted by nylon at 3:49 PM on July 31, 2006

But I would pay money to see the King of Spain bowling with a rugby ball.
posted by flashboy at 4:11 PM on July 31, 2006

I'd just like to say I think it's great that there's a cricket thread going on. The greatest team game ever created.
posted by Decani at 4:25 PM on July 31, 2006

I look forward to him performing admirably in the forthcoming Ashes. Hopefully there will be at least a minimal contest.
posted by wilful at 4:55 PM on July 31, 2006

Gilo will get the nod though, which is a shame but he's got the batting and the fielding sussed. Monty has a hell of a lot of work to do on both those fronts. Aussie pitches aren't Old Trafford-esque.
posted by patricio at 5:06 PM on July 31, 2006

Reminds me of the similar turnaround of Peter Crouch and Owen Hargreaves. From butts-of-jokes to the the only English footballers to come out of the last World Cup with their reputations improved.
posted by Kattullus at 5:31 PM on July 31, 2006

Wow, I don't think I understood about half the words in that post.

So I take it that it's about some sort of sport, then?

What's a right arm finger splinter?
posted by nyxxxx at 5:37 PM on July 31, 2006

*cracks a tinnie, starts hurling abuse at the poms*

it's always nice to see a cricket thread. can't say I know much about ponty, but I hope he makes the ashes squad - sounds like the sort of chap richie would love.

favourite ashes-related story: oasis concert in melbourne, Australia had recently just lost the ashes to England (in a admittedly good series)... 1500 oasis fans... atmosphere is tops. noel gallagher comes up to the mic:

"Now, before we play this song, I want you all to close your eyes... and imagine our English cricket captain holding up the ashes..."

Cue 1500 people giving Noel the bird, the band laughing, and ripping into Don't look back in anger.

Ahh, cricket.
posted by cheaily at 7:13 PM on July 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

Just watched the Youtube links - my cricket knowledge is minimal, but that third wicket from the second test was gorgeous.

I really wish there was some international cricket on US television - even if it was in severely edited down form.
posted by Remy at 8:02 PM on July 31, 2006

As an American, I do not understand cricket, and therefore I hate and fear it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:24 PM on July 31, 2006

As an American, I do not understand cricket, but the words being used in this thread are so awesome I must learn more.
posted by hototogisu at 10:48 PM on July 31, 2006

Unfortunately, they didn't show the match here in Kenya and I have a buring question...

Has Panesar's fielding improved? I don't really care if he can bat (after all, that's what the top order is for, isn't it?) but everyone in field needs to know what they are doing, a bare minimum of which is ball catching. He was pretty abysmal when I watched the India games.

Gilo will get the nod though, which is a shame but he's got the batting and the fielding sussed. Monty has a hell of a lot of work to do on both those fronts.

Its bad enough that we (England) always choose a wicket keeper for batting prowess as opposed to technical skill, but to choose bowlers because they bat better... WTF? It doesn't make sense. Giles is a reliable team player, but the Aussies have dismantled him in the past. Have a look here at his figures against them, they're not encouraging. Monty's only played against teams from the sub-continent so far, but who's to say he won't do as well against other teams?

Everyone knows that Murali can't bat; he always bats at number 11, but he's one of the greatest bowlers of all time (not that I'm equating Monty with Murali here). I can't imagine the Sri Lankan selectors early on in his career sitting there going:

Selector A: "Well, we've got this young guy who can turn it a foot either way but averages about 12 runs an innings, or this other one who averages 21 runs, is a good team player, bowls with metronomic accuracy and spins it once in a while"

Selector B: "hmm, well, we're playing Australia, so we should get lots of runs to have a better chance of winning, we'll take the one who can bat..."

Of course, Murali's has a freakish talent (or, is a fantastically cunning cheater) and we don't have anyone like as good as him in England. I think we're lucky to be seeing two of the best ever spin bowlers playing in our lifetimes. Its just a shame the best one is an Aussie...
posted by davehat at 12:17 AM on August 1, 2006

"He's doing a job for us because there's no-one else at the moment who can fulfil that role."

Slightly less than unequivocal support from the England coach, Duncan Fletcher. He doesn't like him because he can't bat or field.

Personally speaking, I couldn't care less if he bowls like that every match.
posted by johnny novak at 1:06 AM on August 1, 2006

davehat: it's been a long time since any test team picked a wicketkeeper solely on technical ability. Other countries seem to have been fortunate to find keepers with destructive batting ability (look at Gilchrist for example). Chris Read's got the call up for the next test so finally the balance might be tipping slightly. I hope they give him as long a run in the team as Jones.
posted by patricio at 2:07 AM on August 1, 2006

"Has Panesar's fielding improved?"

Yes. Substantially. He's defeated his run-costing fumbles. He's no Jonty, obviously but he has improved.
posted by nthdegx at 2:13 AM on August 1, 2006

Finally, they've called up Read. I mean, the theory was that picking Geraint Jones was a must because although he wasn't the best behind the stumps, he had a good first class average and could marshal a tail whilst picking up a tidy amount of runs.

He hasn't really fulfilled this. Moreover, he hasn't scored quite enough runs to justify the mere adequacy of his wicket keeping. I'd rather pick a guy behind the stumps who will most likely hang on to anything Hoggard, Harmison or (Simon) Jones throw at him. Jones lets slip far too many catches and a hefty amount of byes pass his gloves (I mean, its not all his fault by a long way, but a look at the extras columns in India ODI series was... embarrassing to say the least!).

Good luck Read, although I suspect he'll only last a match or two, due to the old Duncan Fletcher, "I need everyone through number 11 to be able to bat" preference.
posted by davehat at 8:25 AM on August 1, 2006

Does anyone have a link to a site that describes cricket, but using small words so I understand?
posted by inigo2 at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2006

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