Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, or Monty Panesar, as he is better known, is a well-known personality in world cricket. The left-arm spinner had been part of the English Test team for a long period and played a key role in their historic triumph on Indian soil in a Test series in 2012. However, Monty found himself engulfed in many off-field issues as well. He also suffered from mental health problems which badly affected his career.
Currently, Panesar is not only out of the plans of the English teams, he is also without a County team. In such a situation, Monty has decided to try and get an opportunity to play first-class cricket in his ancestral land. The team that the English spinner is trying to get an opportunity to play for is that of the Union Territory Puducherry.
Speaking to The Telegraph, the 37-year old said: "I am still trying to play professional cricket, but I have not found a County yet. I am still working hard to find a County. I may try and play Ranji Trophy this year. I think there is one team — Puducherry — that allows overseas players to play."
The newspaper also contacted the Puducherry team to know about this development. They denied any knowledge of Panesar getting associated with the team. "Three outstation players have been finalised. But there's no clue regarding Monty's inclusion."
The three outstation players taken on board by the new team and referred to above are R Vinay Kumar who has played for India, Aarun Karthik and Paras Dogra.
Puducherry's Ranji team came into existence after reforms were introduced in BCCI as per the orders of Supreme Court and recommendations of the Justice Lodha committee. Nine new teams joined the roster of Ranji Trophy for the 2018/19 season and Puducherry was one of them. They finished third in the Plate group of the tournament and were able to register five wins.
There was some controversy in the first season also as the BCCI found various players in the squad from outside the Union Territory who didn't fulfil the criteria to represent it. Still, the team has survived and they have roped in West Indian great Alvin Kallicharan as the mentor of the squad.
Monty would add a lot of experience to the team as well as quality. The left-arm spinner has played exactly 50 Tests in which he picked up 167 wickets at an average of 34.71 and strike-rate of 74.7. The leading role he played in his team's Test series victory in 2012 remains the crowning achievement of his career and also a testament to his ability on dry pitches.