Ashes: Alastair Cook calls on England squad to look after Monty Panesar
Alastair Cook has told his England squad they must do their bit to keep Monty Panesar in high spirits during the Ashes.
Last Updated: 24/10/13 8:18am
Panesar and his 16 England team-mates touch down in Australia on Thursday ahead of a gruelling two-month tour.
Cook included Panesar in his party for the Ashes despite the spinner going through a difficult summer.
Panesar was arrested for urinating on a bouncer in Brighton during the summer - an act which saw him sacked by Sussex - and he also received a suspended ban for an altercation with Worcestershire player Ross Whiteley.
Cook says Panesar has responded well to the help England and new club Essex have given him since, but he is mindful that the 31-year-old will need special attention Down Under, where the team are looking to clinch the urn for a fourth successive time.
"We have got to make sure we look after him off the field," Cook said at a Heathrow press conference prior to the team's departure.
"Sometimes you take a second spinner on tour and you know you might not play games. It can be very hard to carry the drinks at certain times.
"We need to get Monty in the right frame of mind so if he's called upon.
"We have to be aware that sometimes he struggles with long tours - that is fairly common knowledge - and we look after him. That is one of the responsibilities we have as a leadership group.
"Clearly he had a tough summer, and probably tough year or so.
"A lot of us didn't quite know what he was going through off the field if we are being totally honest and it all came to light with a couple of instances in the summer. But I certainly think he's on the right path now."
England play the first of three warm-up games on October 31 against Western Australia, with the first Test due to start three weeks later at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Yorkshire seamer Tim Bresnan travelled with the squad and England's medical team will monitor his back before deciding whether he will play any part.
"He's improving," Cook added.
"He's a very valuable part of this squad and side when he's fit. We think the best course for getting him fit is for him to come with us.
"You don't know how any stress fractured back is going to hold up until you're bowling and he's not started bowling yet. When he starts bowling we will get a clearer idea of where he is."
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Kevin Pietersen is due to join up with his team-mates in Australia on Sunday as he has to attend a funeral.