Colchester and The Oval aren’t that far apart in terms of miles but for Monty Panesar the distance must have felt astronomical.While the former Northants and Sussex spinner, now plying his trade for Essex on a short-term loan deal, plugged away for minimal reward against his first employer in Colchester on Wednesday, his successor was having an absolute horror of a debut in south London.
Lancashire’s Simon Kerrigan, selected to partner Graeme Swann on the country’s most ideal spin-bowling surface, served up eight overs that he won’t remember with any fondness.
Anyone who has played at the top level will tell you that the pressure is far greater than in the county game and that manifested itelf in the Kerrigan’s performance which was stilted, uncomfortable, out of kilter with the surroundings and, it’s sad to say, that of someone who was way out of his depth.
This is a bowler with a very good first-class record and who has been talked of as an international cricketer for a while but on the evidence presented the other day, he won’t be seen at such a rarified level for some time.
And that is where Panesar comes in.
England’s second best spinner should really have been the one trying to stem the flow from Shane Watson’s bat and the reasons why he wasn’t have been well documented.
A failed marriage, a taste for whisky, an altercation, if urinating from above can be described as that, with a nightclub doorman and a subsequent release by his county do not make for a call-up to the national side, and rightly so, but if this week’s events haven’t hit home then more fool him.
Panesar has always talked a good game in various offerings but now is the time for him to move away from the soundbites and grab his career by the scruff of the neck.
Seeing someone less capable doing his job - I’d like to know what he thought if he actually saw Kerrigan’s howler - should provide a kick in the professional teeth that someone who has lost his way needs.
It’s all too apparent that the opportunity is still there so the focus now turns to the spurned.
Monty, it’s over to you.