Monty still not giving up on county cricket return

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 June 2018

Monty Panesar of Hornchurch (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Monty Panesar of Hornchurch (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

The Hornchurch bowler has been in excellent form so far in the Essex League Premier Division

Hornchurch bowler Monty Panesar celebrates after taking a wicket (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).Hornchurch bowler Monty Panesar celebrates after taking a wicket (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo).

Monty Panesar is enjoying life at Hornchurch, but hasn’t given up hope of a dream return to the county set-up.

The 36-year-old has impressed in the Essex League Premier Division since signing for the Harrow Lodge Park club earlier this year.

Panesar has taken 29 wickets in all competitions for Hornchurch – including 18 in the league in only six games.

After last playing county cricket in July 2016 for Northamptonshire, the ex-England test spinner is determined to get back there.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” said Panesar when asked about his spell at Hornchurch so far. “I’ve had a good time and it is nice to play a mixture of red-ball and white-ball cricket.

“My aim is still to make a comeback in county cricket, so hopefully there is an opportunity out there with a coach where I can get the chance to play and maybe just go to the nets and have a go.

“I feel I have performed well so far and I’m bowling well and keeping my fitness up, so hopefully there is an opportunity in county cricket somewhere down the line.”

Panesar impressed again on Saturday with 2-19 off 6.1 overs as Hornchurch recorded an excellent win at 2017 Premier Division champions Chelmsford.

Billy Gordon’s team batted first and made 247-7 from their 50 overs with Muhammad Irfan top scoring with a rapid 48 off 21 balls.

Earlier in the innings, Michael Bones (40), Roy Smith (43) and Chris Saints (40) had laid the foundations for a big score.

It proved far too many runs for Chelmsford in the end as the hosts were dismissed for 172 in the 45th over.

“We are really pleased with the win. I thought it was a good team performance from everyone,” said Panesar.

“The batting is the most pleasing aspect because we haven’t really batted too well this season, so it was good to see some of the boys get good partnerships going and set us up for a good total.

“I think the overseas Muhammad is a really good player as well. He hits a long ball and bowls well, so he helps add a bit more to our team.”

Panesar played his part in the victory with two scalps, but captain Gordon led from the front with 3-36 and Mehad Khan continued his strong start to 2018 with 5-42.

It moved Hornchurch up to fourth in the table after six fixtures to date and Khan is now the joint leading wicket-taker this season along with ex-Essex spinner.

“Mehad seems to adapt to the wicket well and change his bowling style accordingly,” said Panesar.

“He is very good at that and bowled excellently against Chelmsford on Saturday, so he has done well.”

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