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Troubled Panesar joins Essex

ESPNcricinfo staff
August 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Moments of joy have been few and far between of late for Monty Panesar © Getty Images
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Monty Panesar, the left-arm spinner who has endured a troubled season, has apologised for his recent behaviour after being released by Sussex and joining Essex for the remainder of the season. He was allowed on loan to a Division Two side and is still hoping to earn a place on the Ashes tour to Australia, while harbours hopes of being the "best spin bowler in the world."

Panesar was fined by police for being drunk and disorderly earlier this month after urinating on bouncers following a night out in Brighton and has not played for Sussex since. He was left out of England's squad for the final Ashes Test at The Oval when, under normal circumstances, he would have been expected to be included with England naming two spinners.

"I have endured a challenging time this year off the field and my frustrations have sometimes got the better of me professionally," Panesar said in statement. "I apologise for letting the club, my colleagues and my fans down.

"I am grateful to Sussex for allowing me to be released from my contract for 2014 and 2015 in order to explore other opportunities to further develop my cricket. I want to give myself the best chance of playing all forms of the game at the highest level.

"I would like to thank Sussex for the opportunities, experiences and support I have enjoyed at the club since 2010, and my gratitude for the contribution Sussex have made in providing me with a platform to gain selection for England on three successive winter tours."

Essex is now the next stop in a career that began at Northamptonshire and has often flourished for club and country but is need of repair. Panesar said he would be working again with Neil Burns, his former mentor, to try and get his career back on track. Where his full-time future lies remains open to debate.

"I have re-engaged with Neil Burns at London County Mentoring, to help to develop my cricket further and I feel that Neil, along with a trusted support structure in place around me will help me put my personal and professional problems behind me and enable me to put all my energies and focus into the game and a new club.

"I am determined to do whatever it takes to gain selection for England this winter. I want to become the best I can be.

"I believe that if I maintain the bowling progress I have made in recent weeks which enabled me to be selected for the Test squad at Old Trafford, I can fulfil my long-held ambition of becoming the best spin bowler in the world, over time."

Sussex's investigation into the events in Brighton has concluded with the club saying "both parties have reached agreement." Panesar will become a free agent on September 27.

Zac Toumazi, the Sussex chief executive, said: "Clearly this season has been a very difficult time for Monty Panesar. Having reviewed the whole situation the club has agreed that Monty be released from his contract. This will give him every opportunity to put his personal and professional life back on track."

Sussex's professional cricket manager Mark Robinson said: "Monty has been an integral part of the professional cricket team and has been a valuable contributor to the overall performance of the club during his time at Sussex. He is an outstanding bowler. I would like to thank Monty for his contribution and wish him well for the future. "

Even before Panesar's drinking incident it had been a difficult season for him. In 11 Championship matches he claimed 23 wickets at 40.39 and lost his place for a match. He had been included in the England squad for the Old Trafford Test against Australia and it was after his omission from that game that the latest problems occurred.

His most recent Test was against New Zealand, in Auckland, during March when he was deputising for the injured Graeme Swann. Earlier in England's winter campaign he had formed a key double-act with Swann during the historic series victory in India.

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