England spinner Monty Panesar Cricket Australia has recruited as its spin-bowling consultant, ramping up its preparations for the team's tour of India beginning in February. The 34-year-old Panesar, who spent this summer as a club cricketer in Sydney, was chosen owing to his impressive record during Englands memorable series win in India in 2012-13 when he snared 17 wickets in three Tests.
According to media reports in Australia, Panesar will travel to the Centre of Excellence this week to work with left-arm spinner Steve OKeefe, as well as Matt Renshaw, the opening batsman who was cleared of concussion on Sunday, following the incident that led to his withdrawal from action during the third Test against Pakistan.
Panesar's recruitment came at the behest of Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's high performance manager, keeping in mind the threat posed by the Indian spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who took 54 wickets between them in the last series against England.
"Having Monty come up is a nice way to kickstart the squads thinking about playing in India. We want the batsmen to be thinking about what the bowlers will be trying to do to them over there and Monty can engage them that way as well as with the bowlers," Howard was quoted as saying by the Australian.
Australia have not won a Test in India since 2004 and their last series victory in Asia came against Sri Lanka in 2011. They have since suffered nine straight Test losses on the sub-continent.