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Underwood: Panesar must play

Derek Underwood, England's finest ever spin bowler, says Monty Panesar should be a part of the team for the second Test match against India when it starts in Mumbai on Friday.

He’s a quality bowler in my view

Panesar was left out of the team for the nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad, as England's seam bowlers in particular toiled.

Changes are predicted for the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai though after captain Alastair Cook admitted selection mistakes had been made, with Panesar widely tipped to replace Tim Bresnan in the England attack.

Such a move would prove popular with former left-arm spinner Underwood, who took 297 wickets in 86 Tests - the most by an England spinner - and is his country's most prolific Test bowler in India.

He said: "He’s a quality bowler in my view and I think he would have made quite a difference on that pitch in Ahmedabad.

"I was disappointed that he didn’t play."


Graeme Swann took six of England's nine wickets in the match including 5/144 in the first innings. And despite England having a poor record (P7 W0 L4 D3) when they play together, Underwood believes Panesar would have combined well with senior spinner Swann on a surface which took spin from day one.

"The idea of Swann from one end and Monty at the other is very appealing to me," Underwood added.

"There wasn't the same control or threat as India had when they were bowling at England."

He did accept that the poor performance of England's batsmen in the first innings would have made it difficult for Panesar to affect the result of the match. But with Pragyan Ojha's orthodox left-arm spin taking nine wickets, former MCC President and current Club Trustee Underwood believes Panesar could have matched or even bettered India's star performer.

"Monty is our number one left-armer and I think he would have bowled very well in those conditions when you compare how Ojha and Samit Patel did, added the Kent legend.

"He has a much higher arm action that those two and he could easily have out-bowled them if he'd been in the team - we'll never know."

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