Monty Panesar has rejoined former county Northamptonshire for the 2016 season, as he looks to get his career back on track at the place where he rose to stardom.
The spinner, who has 50 Test caps for England, has been training with Northants during the winter as he recovered from a shoulder injury, including joining the club on their pre-season tour to Barbados, although he wasn’t fit enough to bowl.
Cash-strapped Northants were unable to find room in their budget for a contract for Panesar, however the club confirmed he has himself organised external funding to enable him to continue his county career, having been released from Essex last season.
“Monty has worked hard at his fitness which is progressing,” head coach David Ripley, a former team mate of Panesar’s, said. “He joined us on our pre-season tour to Barbados of his own volition, where he fitted in well with the rest of the lads, he will now have to prove himself for selection.”
The 33-year-old started his career at Wantage Road, moving up through the youth ranks and making his first class debut in 2001, but after losing his central contract at the end of 2009, moved onto Sussex.
Panesar played a crucial role, alongside fellow Northants product Graeme Swann, in England’s test series victory in India in 2012, but his last Test came during the infamous Ashes tour the following winter, and he has struggled ever since.
However back at familiar surroundings, close to his birthplace of Luton, Panesar will hope to resurrect his career, whilst England’s depleted spin bowling stocks may mean he has one eye on a return to India later this year, and Northants captain Alex Wakely is delighted to have him back involved.
“I would be very excited to have Monty as part of the squad, as his test pedigree and experience will be really helpful to the rest of the lads,” he said.
“We’ve all had some honest conversations but he is fitting in really well, he still has to prove his worth and Graeme White is bowling very well at the moment, so he still faced some challenges to get a place on the team.