Monty Panesar Needs A Hug Not The Sack

The second best Test spinner in England, and probably the third best in the world has been sacked this week by his Sussex. Well, you can read the Sussex statement that says he’s “being released from his contract” and will “become a free agent” on 27 September, but he’s being loaned to Essex with immediate effect. Pick your own euphemism, he’s been sacked.

If you’re not sure how we got here, that’s a long story, but, in short, he was turfed out of a nightclub, took a pee on the bouncers before running off like a girl and screaming for help when the bouncers got hold of him. The police were involved, the club investigated and now he’s on the lookout for another employer.

Anyone who saw Monty take any of his 164 Test wickets will think this is all a little out of character. Monty celebrated every wicket the enthusiasm of 12 year old getting his dad out in the back yard – he had a jump for joy that would bring a smile to any face. He is loved by England fans, who still wear Monty masks to games and is a hero to the Barmy Army. Now he’s pissing on bouncers.

The papers are reporting he’s recent split up with his wife, a tricky time for anybody and he wouldn’t be the first person to go a little off the rails during a messy divorce. He’s coming to terms with being one of the best spinners in the world but not good enough to play for his country.

What Monty needs is a hug, not his P45.

The lad needs his friends, family and employers around him to support him. After all it’s only a first offence and one that will probably be the central story of his after dinner speaking routine in a few years time.

State of Mind

On a serious note, it’s worth having a look at rugby league’s State of Mind campaign, which was launched in earnest after Terry Newton committed suicide, and wondering if Sussex could have handled this differently.

There aren’t many similarities between Monty’s incident and Newton’s suicide seven months after failing a drugs test, but Newton did make reference to the isolation and loneliness he felt after being released by his club. It won’t be easy being Monty at the moment and he needs support.

With England heading to Australia shortly to defend the Ashes, they need a happy, healthy Monty as part of the touring squad. There are a number of promising young spinners in the country, but if Swann gets injured before the first Test, the equation is this: 164 wickets v a player on debut. Monty wins every time.

Let’s hope that Monty gets his head sorted, bowls Essex to promotion and jumps on the plane to Sydney in a few months time.

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