Shenfield add Panesar ahead of season opener with Harold Wood
PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 May 2019
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Shenfield have bolstered their squad ahead of their league opener with Harold Wood with the addition of former England Test bowler Monty Panesar, writes Jacob Ranson.
Captain Roy Smith and his side will welcome Wood to Chelmsford Road on Saturday for their first weekend of the Shepherd Neame Essex League Division One campaign.
And the new skipper is delighted to have added such an experienced talent in 37-year-old Panesar, who he played alongside at Hornchurch last year, as they look to earn promotion back to the Premier Division.
"I got quite friendly with him throughout the season and he messaged me asking what I was up to, so I told him that I'm captain of a new club," Smith said.
"He said he still didn't have a club only just over a week ago, so I said why don't you come and play for us, and see how it goes.
"He didn't want to travel up north to clubs that wanted him, so we thought 'why not, we'll have him', as we know what class and quality he brings.
"He went through sides in the Premier Division last year, so it's a massive boost to us to bring him on board."
Despite the addition of the former Essex left-arm spinner, skipper Smith knows Craig Perrin's Wood will pose a big test for his side.
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"We feel like we're fairly strong, we're confident, but they're probably going to be one of the better sides in Division One so it's going to be a challenge for us," he said.
"It's still early doors. We've played a couple of cup games, so we're still finding our way a little bit.
"We're trying different systems we're going to use with bowling changes and batting orders.
"We've got a few new players so we're finding our feet, but I do feel like we're getting there, which is good.
"It will definitely be a good test for us on Saturday."
Smith knows plenty about their opponents and says he will try to use that to his advantage.
"I know a few of their players, they've got three ex-Hornchurch players funny enough, Frankie Jacobs, Ed Smith and Taqi Abbas, so I know a bit about those," he said.
"It's always helpful when you know certain players, their strengths and weaknesses.
"It's another game. I dare say they'll be up for it, and looking forward to playing against us as well."