Thursday, 28 July 2011

Why Andy Flower got it wrong with Monty

Monty Panesar's career has been haunted by Shane Warne's one-liner: 'He's not played 30 Tests, he's played the same Test 30 times'. It was a piece of dressing room wisdom that capped Monty's destructive reputation for guilelessness, the Frank Spencer of left-arm spin.

It somehow seems more than five years ago that Panesar took the first of his 126 Test wickets - Sachin Tendulkar was his duck-breaker, Rahul Dravid his third. Inzamam ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan followed the next summer. Monty was good enough for the best.

Since his move to Sussex, he's been doing pretty much everything right, trying to reconcile the need to grow his game while remaining in touch with the innate skill he produced so naturally at first.

When he had the chance to go and bowl at the world's premier batsman in the nets a few weeks ago, he took the initiative, just as everyone kept telling him he needed to do. He jumped in his car, got himself down to Lord's and turned his arm over for Sachin Tendulkar.

'I thought it would be a chance to get some tips for my bowling,' he said. 'These things are great opportunities and it gave me the chance to add further development to my game'.

Andy Flower took a different view. Flower called Monty 'naive'. Monty, being Monty, will probably roll over and agree. He shouldn't. He is not contracted to England, just to Sussex. He's 29 years old and has responsibility for his own career. If he thinks that bowling at Tendulkar will help him, he has every right to do so.

Flower has been revelatory in his time with England. He is a hugely impressive man, deserving of respect. He is wrong in this instance, though. His concern should not be Sachin Tendulkar, who, let's face it, after 14,000 runs is probably going to get a few more at some point regardless of who bowls at him in the nets or in the Test matches. His concern should be for Monty, who is the sort of man who will take being called 'naive' by the England Team Director to heart.

Even if Flower was able to make his case for Panesar bowling to Tendulkar as being detrimental to England, this was an issue best handled with a quiet word in private. Monty deserved better than a public slapping down in a way that reinforces a perceived weakness in his make-up.

9 comments:

Pavilionopinions said...

It must kill Monty to be adrift on the Test periphery and what better antidote to feeling apart than a net with Sachin. Flower is a wonder, but he's not of the Brearley school. KP's left arm doldrums, perceived or otherwise, might have been a good time to get Monty netting and feeling loved if Eng still see him as a viable option. I don't know. I'm on a train. Shane Warne's face is increasingly like vacumn-packed spam.

Pavilionopinions said...

I mean vacuum. #spamspelling

Samir Chopra said...

The post-Lord's triumphalism seems to have inflected Flower as well, who seems to imagine he is a general conducting a mopping-up campaign, sending in flamethrowers to clean up any pockets of resistance.

Samir Chopra said...

I meant "infected" not "inflected."

The Old Batsman said...

Pav, v true. Apparently Warne's been giving monty advice too - not about his spam face, but about bowling i think. Everyone has except Andy flower, it seems...


Samir, the worrying thing is, he might be... it feels weird for england to actually be good.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Flower would have been justified in regretting Monty bowling to Sachin in the nets would be if he thought Monty was a secret weapon for later in the series (or the like). In a way, his concern is a compliment. But I doubt if Monty sees it that way, and the public slap is a bad for both of them.

Will (The Short Midwicket) said...

I could understand it if Monty was bowling at a young Indian batsman who's never faced left-arm spin, and England had a left-arm spinner. But we don't, and as you say, Sachin's seen it all before. Monty bowling at Tendulkar is unlikely to help Sachin in the tests, but could massively help Monty's future career. Don't forget, Monty's only a Swann broken finger away from being back in the England team, so surely Andy Flower would want a good a bowler as possible to step in?

diogenes said...

in an earlier age, Bedi bowled to Amiss, Knott and Fletcher on the 72/73 tour... Flower's attitude stinks of creeping Bradman-ism. Does Flower not realise how important confidence is to a bowler? Has he jumped the shark?

price per head services said...

you know buddy, I sometimes ask myself that same question, it wonders my mind from time to time, and I still have no idea why Andy Flower got it wrong with Monty