Exclusive: 'IPL is where international cricketers reinvent themselves' - Monty Panesar
Former English spinner Monty Panesar speaks to Asianet Newsable on subjects ranging from Joe Root's captaincy to the ongoing IPL and institutional racism.
England cricket is going through a turbulent phase as it struggles and lurks at the bottom of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23. However, its players continue to impact the Indian Premier League 2022. So then, how can England script a turnaround in the WTC? Asianet Newsable caught up with former England spinner Monty Panesar to know the answer to this.
Given England's dismal performance in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, where is it going wrong?
It's probably the batting line-up. They are not doing as well as they need to, which is evident by how they have batted so far. They need to get their batting better, no doubt about it.
How much chance does England have at bettering its performance in the WTC, with three more series remaining?
I think England has got a challenge against New Zealand at home and obviously South Africa before it starts thinking about Pakistan. But I think they should give an opportunity to a second spinner because England missed out on that chance in the West Indies.
How do you rate Joe Root's Test captaincy (Root recently stepped down as Test captain)?
Joe Root is still the leading run-scorer, and things will fall in place once the players get exposure to county cricket and regain their composure. I feel he should continue. But, if you consider a change, Ben Stokes could be the one to replace him, while Jonny Bairstow could be another candidate. Stuart Broad could also come in the fray."
If they [England and Wales Cricket Board] decide to pull the plug off Root, Stokes is the first person to be in the fray. They may even look at James Vince. I'm sure he is another potential. Tom Wesley from Essex is another who can score runs and has good captaincy skills. So, it's really interesting if they decide to look elsewhere. They would look for someone who is very much within the setup.
How about veteran James Anderson as the ideal captaincy candidate, who has been with the English Test setup for a long time?
If they ask him to lead, I think he could be a good candidate. It all depends on the management and the coach. Given that we play New Zealand and South Africa at home, we want an experienced guy who knows international cricket, and he happens to be Jimmy.
And also, he is good in sub-continent conditions. So, I won't be surprised if they say that they want Jimmy to be the captain because of the fact that he is in good form and is the most successful bowler out there. He can aid the batters in how to play against the moving balls. So, he can be a great option, yeah.
As for the white-ball side, Eoin Morgan has done well as a skipper but is in a poor form with the bat. Should he continue leading too?
I think they will likely replace him with Jos Buttler depending on his IPL performance because IPL is a place where international cricketers reinvent themselves. Even domestic players shine in the IPL. Buttler is currently a contender for the Orange Cap, and if he continues his form, they may think about appointing him, given that some top white-ball tournaments, including the ICC World Cup 2023, will be held in India.
Is it the right call to have two separate skippers for red and white-ball cricket?
I think it is a sensible option to do that, given the number of workload adjustments the modern-day cricketers have to make due to the busy international calendar, besides targeting success in all formats. It might not work for all cricket teams, but it works for England and Australia.
How is the IPL helping the English players?
Take the example of Buttler. He did not have a great Test series. But, in the IPL, he is having the time of his life like he had not had it for a long time. He is playing freely and beautifully. I hope he continues to bat really well and get the Orange Cap, which would be nice.
And, I think Moeen Ali has been somewhat of a miss and hit, but he is really good. He can also be a handy bowling option. If he does not fare with the bat, he will make up for it with the ball, making him a valuable all-round option, and he would be really vital for England in ODI cricket.
[Liam] Livingstone again, he has been on fire for Punjab Kings. England should be looking at these players who are making an impact in the IPL. Tymal Mills is an express bowler. So, it's good to see these English players performing, and it would be vital for them to continue their form heading into The Hundred.
With Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer being injury prone, will it affect their careers in the long run?
Well, I think they gotta manage their career. They should decide on which games to play and which not. Especially Archer, he really needs to manage his bowling load. I think he has over-bowled and has not really recovered. The same goes for Stokes. So, they gotta plan their outings and commitments to prolong their careers.
Your take on the Yorkshire Institutional Racism. Why is this happening, and what should be done to remove this?
The concept of racism exists to give power to people over lesser minorities. It has been prevalent for the last 100-200 years. There are two types of racism: visible and invisible. Visible refers to your skin colour, whereas invisible refers to your education, upbringing, habits, hobbies, etc.
It's very difficult to address this issue and completely wipe it out. You should get more people at boardroom levels, give religious presensations, and give them more opportunities and coaching, other stuff like these. The appointment of Lord Patel, along with some Indian companies being roped in as sponsors, are a few steps being taken, which is good.
It's an area where the ICC [International Cricket Council] and the boards should work together and analyse, 'Are we doing anything about diversity?' Take the example of the ICC Women's World Cup, where we have women commentators and umpires. It's good to see that diversity isn't just your skin colour, gender or age, but many other aspects. Gradually, an effort is being made to address these problems.