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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 12:26 GMT
Emburey wants specialists picked
By Jamie Lillywhite

Monty Panesar
Panesar is felt to be the most gifted current England spinner
Former England spinner John Emburey says the selectors should consider genuine bowlers rather than all-rounders as cover for Ashley Giles.

England are looking at two extra spinners to accompany Shaun Udal to India with Giles likely to be unfit.

Backing the claims of uncapped youngster Monty Panesar, Emburey told BBC Sport: "Do you want all-rounders or bowlers of match-winning potential?

"The batsmen have to knuckle down, you shouldn't have to rely on the tail."

John Emburey
If they want to go for experience you go Patel, but if you want to develop a player you'd go Panesar
John Emburey

Panesar, 23, captured 46 Championship wickets at an average of 21 for Northants in 2005, but scored only 75 runs in 11 innings, with a top score of 39.

Emburey, now coach of Middlesex, said: "He would be my choice but he doesn't bat or field and I know [coach] Duncan [Fletcher] likes players strong in more than one area."

By contrast, another former Middlesex and England pro, Angus Fraser, supports Ian Blackwell, a spin-bowling all-rounder.

But Emburey, who took 147 wickets in 64 Tests, believes too much emphasis is placed on bowlers being able to contribute with the bat.

And he also champions the claims of Min Patel, the 35-year-old Kent spinner who took 59 Championship wickets in Division One last year.

Emburey was instrumental in arranging for Patel to play for New Zealand club side Central Districts this winter but he said: "He can always answer the England call.

"Patel is a very clever bowler, he's got good control, he's been around a bit and he can handle himself.

"One thing that worries me about Panesar is if he gets hit around a bit how his temperament will be.

"I think they see Blackwell as a one-day player, it's not as if he's a big wicket-taker.

"If they want to go for experience and someone who had a good year last year on reasonably decent pitches you go Patel, but if you want to develop a player you'd go Panesar."

Ashley Giles
Giles has taken 140 Test wickets in his 52 matches

Another former England spinner, Robert Croft believes the selectors might decide to fall back on a former choice.

"I think Panesar will go anyway but perhaps they need a bit of experience and I think they might take Gareth Batty," he told BBC Sport.

"He's been around the traps for a while, he knows how the system works, the regime, he's used to training schedules and is a fit young man."

Croft also felt that Patel, who played two Tests for England against India in 1996, might be a factor.

"It might be a like-for-like with Patel, who has spent the majority of his career bowling over the wicket like Giles has done," he observed.

Fraser told Sky Sports: "England are wary about their batting line-up. Matthew Hoggard tries hard but you don't want to see him at six down.

"The spinner will be a supporting role and Blackwell can tie an end up."

Giles is struggling to recover from hip surgery last month and may not be fit to leave with the team on 12 February.

The India tour comprises three Test matches followed by seven one-day internationals.

England's spin dilemma
25 Jan 06 |  England


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