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It’s mad we’ve got Monty says Hornchurch captain

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 January 2018

Monty Panesar has signed for Hornchurch (pic Lee Power)

Monty Panesar has signed for Hornchurch (pic Lee Power)

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Hornchurch captain Billy Gordon admitted it felt quite strange to think he will have England Test player Monty Panesar as one of his bowling options this coming season.

Billy Gordon of Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Billy Gordon of Hornchurch (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Left-arm spinner Panesar has agreed to join the Essex League Premier Division club and was at their Harrow Lodge base in midweek to meet his new skipper and other team-mates and members.

The 35-year-old took 167 wickets in 50 Test matches, including two 10-wicket hauls, and Gordon said: “It’s mad really, that we’re the club that has got him. He’s obviously a high-profile player.

“Hopefully he can bring more attention to the club, whether it’s on the pitch or off the pitch, get people watching, in the club socialising, and get youngsters from local schools to come and join us.

“And for the team, hopefully help bring the youngsters on. Use his experience to help us hopefully do well in the league.”

England's last-wicket pair Monty Panesar and James Anderson talk to umpire Aleem Dar on the way to saving the first Ashes Test at Cardiff in 2009 (pic Nick Potts/PA)England's last-wicket pair Monty Panesar and James Anderson talk to umpire Aleem Dar on the way to saving the first Ashes Test at Cardiff in 2009 (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Panesar was set to appear in TV show ‘Dancing On Ice’ but suffered a broken ankle during training.

He is now out of a plaster cast and stepping up his recovery and Gordon says the mood in the Hornchurch squad is one of excitement.

He added: “He’s a class act and had his injuries but is looking to prove himself and help the team do well.

“Everyone’s pretty shocked to be fair. They thought it wouldn’t happen but it has happened and everyone’s really excited to play alongside him and use his experience to help us do well.

“I’ll bowl him all the overs he can bowl. I probably won’t get much of a bowl this year! But as long as we win, play well and the team gets on well that’s the most important thing.”

Signing Panesar is a clear show of intent by Hornchurch, who previously had New Zealand Test bowler Chris Drum in their ranks.

And Gordon, a home-grown product from their Cricket for All scheme, knows it will raise eyebrows around the county and put an even bigger target on their backs, but wants his men to rise to the challenge.

He said: “We’re going to get a bit of stick around the league but you expect that. We’ve got to back our abilities and prove we’ve got the right man basically.

“Hopefully we can be a bit more successful this time because in previous years we’ve not had the success when we’ve got big players.

“We’ve got a few youngsters and should have a good mix. Monty will probably bowl with the overseas. Hopefully they don’t pick the same end!

“We should be able to tie teams down and take wickets. It should be a very good season, I’m looking forward to it already, I can’t wait to get back!”

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