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India Tour Diary By Monty Panesar

For a British-Asian with roots in Punjab, playing in India is doubly special. It gets you out twice…as Bishan Bedi famously said of a stumping wicket I took!

India Tour Diary By Monty Panesar
Illustration by Saahil
India Tour Diary By Monty Panesar
outlookindia.com
2021-02-12T12:56:18+05:30
Old Visits, Pitched Battles

For a British-Asian cricketer who has parents or grandparents from India, a tour there is a special one. You realise cricket is a religion here—the passion, players worshipped like gods...you wonder how these players cope with pressure. I have to admire the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Sourav Ganguly,  Rahul Dravid. My first experience of playing in India was during my Under-19 days and our team included the great James Anderson, Ian Bell and myself. India had Gautam Gambhir and Parthiv Patel. Gambhir was way above our league then; I remember he scored a double hundred. In India as part of the England team in 2006, I again played against Gambhir, then part of the India side. For me it was a reflection of how far I have developed as a cricketer. Rod Marsh was certainly right when he said to me, “You have deficiencies in some areas but could be a late developer”. Touring India has become easier over the years. In 2006, I was very ill with diarrhoea before a warm-up match. But I played it and when I got Suresh Raina out stumped, it elicited Bishan Bedi’s famous response: “Getting a batsman out stumped is like getting him out twice—once in the air and once off the pitch”.

Testing My Mettle

Slated to be the first Sikh to play for England, I was in the news around the build-up to the first Test in Nagpur. As a youngster, all I wanted was to play for England and become the best spinner in the world. When I took my first Test wicket, I didn’t celebrate it as a special occasion—I was in shock! Looking back at the Test now, I took the wickets of Sachin, Dravid and Mohammad Kaif—not a bad way to start a career. Test...

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