Monty looking to Vettori
Monty Panesar wants to hone his talents against another of the world's best spinners.
Last Updated: 27/02/08 9:42am
Monty Panesar wants to hone his talents against another of the world's best spinners when England take on New Zealand in March.
The 25-year-old Northamptonshire off-spinner is set to pit his wits against Daniel Vettori for the first time in Test cricket.
Having struggled to live up to his billing against the world's most prolific spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in the series defeat in Sri Lanka in December Panesar is eager to prove himself.
England's academy performance director David Parsons believes Panesar, whose 81 Test wickets in 23 Tests is identical to that of Muralitharan's career start, will have used his time with the England Lions developing his skills technically and tactically.
"He would probably admit himself he wasn't at his best," Parsons said, of the winter's first Test series.
"He was bowling in competition with arguably the best spinner of all-time and against some of the best players of spin around, in their own backyard. He found it tough, as most bowlers do.
"It's probably the first time he has found it really tough in Test cricket and I think he will come out of it a stronger cricketer.
"He's had a fantastic start to his international career if you compare his stats after 20 matches to Murali's.
"Monty has got terrific skill and that skill has got him to where he is today. The next thing he has to develop is to craft that skill.
"So far he has had to try to do that in the heat of the battle, in Test matches."
Vettori, whose mastery of drift and subtle variation has already tormented England in the one-day series, offers another opportunity for Panesar to learn.
"He has obviously been around international cricket for so long," Panesar said of his slow left-arm opponent.
"I see him as senior to me and it would be great to discover if there is any way I can learn from him."
England face one more tour match against a New Zealand Invitation XI meanwhile, before heading to Hamilton for the first Test.