Pressure on Panesar
Monty Panesar knows that his Ashes chances will depend on his performance for England this week.
Last Updated: 30/06/09 8:22am
Monty Panesar knows his domestic form this season has not been good enough, but the left-arm spinner is hoping to prove he is worthy of an England recall for this summer's Ashes.
Panesar has slipped out of England contention of late as Graeme Swann has emerged as the number one spinner in the squad.
Panesar has taken just six first-class wickets at more than 86 each for Northamptonshire this summer - and he knows that form is below-par.
However, his inclusion in England's team against Warwickshire, in a three-day match starting at Edgbaston on Wednesday, is an obvious hint that he is being seriously considered as a second spinner for next week's first Ashes Test at Cardiff.
The 27-year-old believes he has learned some valuable lessons since he last appeared for his country, against West Indies in Trinidad almost four months ago.
"You can't hide facts. I've kind of struggled at the start of the season," Panesar said.
"You get a lot of well-meaning advice. But sometimes there is too much of it; you get confused, and then self-doubt can creep in - and confidence becomes an issue.
"But clearing your mind of that is a skill. It's been a learning curve, and I hope that will help me this week."
Panesar identified the next three days as an acid test for his 'back-to-basics' formula, and he knows that his hopes of playing in the Ashes this summer rest on his display this week.
"I will know this week," he said. "It's a big week, and I know I'll be looking to bowl as I naturally do best. It's not the right time to be experimenting.
"I was trying to experiment with my variation of pace and other lengths - and I would love to have loads of wickets under my belt. But things haven't gone as planned.
"The recent months haven't been as I would have liked. But this current situation gives me the opportunity to rise to the challenge - and reconnect with what I do naturally."
Panesar believes the patient, repetitive style which carried him into Test cricket in the first place can be a friend again - rather than allowing himself to be sidetracked by fanciful notions about flight and guile.
"I've got to trust myself to go back to my natural bowling style, my strength - of bowling lots of overs at a certain pace and lots of maidens," he added.
"My kind of pace suits English conditions. I'm going to get one to bite quickly and turn here. But when you go to the sub-continent or elsewhere on slightly slower wickets, that is maybe when you need to experiment a bit more.
"I've had to understand that for my development to go any further I've had to maybe take a backward step - to go forward for the medium and the long term."