Fresh questions over Monty Panesar’s character were raised on Friday when the England spinner accepted he had acted in a “potentially threatening and intimidating” manner toward an opponent.
Just a few days after being named in England’s squad for the forthcoming Ashes tour of Australia, Panesar was given a suspended one-match ban by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) disciplinary commission after pleading guilty to a breach of directive 3.2 in the County Championship match between Essex and Worcestershire earlier this month.
The ECB did not specify exactly what had caused Panesar to be charged, their statement referring only to “two incidents,” one of which was likely a heated exchange with Worcestershire batsman Ross Whiteley.
Experienced umpire Peter Willey, a former Test batsman, intervened, while Essex captain James Foster was also summoned by the match officials.
Panesar’s ban will be suspended until the end of next season, pending any further violations of the ECB code.
Friday’s ECB statement said Panesar had “apologized for his behavior during the match.”
However, it was something both Panesar and the England selectors could have done without, following the controversy surrounding his Test recall.
Last month the 31-year-old left-armer, who has taken 164 wickets at 33.78 in 48 Tests, found himself making the wrong sort of headlines after he was fined for urinating on night-club bouncers in Brighton on England’s south coast.
It was all too much for his then-employer Sussex, who promptly released Panesar, who is now completing the season on loan at rival county Essex.
Panesar remains England’s second-best spinner behind off-break bowler Graeme Swann, which was emphasized by the wretched Test debut of Lancashire left-armer Simon Kerrigan, whose eight wicketless overs in the drawn Ashes finale at The Oval last month cost 53 runs.
England selector Geoff Miller, himself a former Test spinner, said when announcing the Ashes squad on Monday: “Monty had his problems, which we’ve worked hard to rectify in the last six weeks — and he has too. He’s a proven international bowler, who has shown what he’s capable of doing on many occasions for us.”
Miller added: “He’s very prepared to let his bowling do the talking for him, so I’m prepared to accept that. He’s an experienced international player and it’s up to him to actually produce the goods for us.”