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Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 10:43 UK

Panesar could make county switch

By Oliver Brett

Andrew Strauss and Monty Panesar
England have not picked Panesar since the first Ashes Test in early July

Monty Panesar could find himself playing cricket for a county other than Northants next season, having already lost his England central contract.

As he returns to the county payroll, Northants may choose to offload the 39-Test spinner to make cost savings.

The county's chief executive Mark Tagg told BBC Sport: "I'm not stupid enough or naive enough to say Monty will be with us 100% for next year."

A number of counties could make a move for Panesar should he become available.

Warwickshire, Sussex, Middlesex and Surrey have all been unofficially linked with the 27-year-old, whose descent from national hero to England outcast has come quickly.

Though he has secured a deal to play for South African franchise Highveld Lions during the winter, Panesar now finds himself demoted behind both Graeme Swann and Adil Rashid in England's pecking order.

And, only 12 months after he was the country's number one spinner, he has recently been dropped by his London-based agent, Paragon Sports Management.

"With Monty losing a central contract it's a financial impact that we will have to deal with," explained Tagg.

We have had two or three years where we have improved year on year - which we have achieved without Monty being there

Mark Tagg
Northants chief executive

"We are not in a situation where we might not be able to afford his salary but we may have to consider overall dynamics.

"He is contracted to us for 2010. Clearly he was and we were disappointed that he lost his central contract.

"We have had two or three years where we have improved year on year - which we have achieved without Monty being there.

"Monty has been a Northants player since he was about 14 but you can never say never."

Last summer, Panesar played in 13 County Championship matches for Northants after being left out of the final four Ashes Tests. He took only 18 wickets at an average of 59.44 - and Northants narrowly missed out on promotion to Division One.

Tagg explained that the fact that Panesar remained under contract was not a barrier to him leaving, should another county express interest in signing him.

He said: "There's been an issue with a number of Worcestershire players leaving the club this season - and with a contract these days an employee does tend not to get tied down, which makes you question how worthwhile a contract is.

Oliver Brett

"If a good player plays for a county which may be perceived to be unfashionable other counties might think 'we can do something there'."

Sussex chief executive Dave Brooks said there was "nothing concrete" linking the Hove-based club to the Luton-born player.

But he said: "All counties at this time are looking at reviewing their squad for next year and funny things do happen.

"It depends where we go. We've got two good young spinners in Will Beer, who is only 21, and Ollie Rayner who is our leading four-day spinner - but quite often you want two quality spinners in a Championship side.

"If a player of Panesar's quality became available I would be straight on to my cricket manager to discuss our options."

Panesar's manager, his brother Isher, was not available for comment.

In a recent interview with BBC Sport, Panesar admitted the past 12 months had been "a tough time."

He added: "I am resilient and determined to bounce back. It has given me a chance to reflect on where I am and what I need to do differently in the future to increase my chances of success."

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see also
Forgotten Monty
08 Oct 09 |  England
Panesar joins S Africa franchise
05 Oct 09 |  England
Harmison & Panesar lose contracts
11 Sep 09 |  England
Panesar ready for England call-up
11 Aug 09 |  Northants
Warne backs Rashid over Panesar
25 Jun 09 |  England
England changes 'put off Panesar'
09 Apr 09 |  England

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