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Mushtaq tips Panesar to find form

Monty Panesar
Panesar still boasts an average of 32.88 in Test matches

England's spin coach Mushtaq Ahmed has tipped Monty Panesar to bounce back from a disappointing series in India in the Test matches against West Indies.

Panesar took just 6-303 in two Tests against India as England lost the series late last year.

But Mushtaq believes Panesar can help England win the four-Test series in the West Indies, starting 4 February.

"I don't think it's a technical issue with Monty - more confidence. He will definitely be a threat," said Mushtaq.

"I believe Monty's game is all about confidence. Spinners, or any sportsman in the world, can have a bad game or two, but Monty will always do well for England.

"If I'm going to be working with him I've got to remind him that he's a got a 10-wicket haul against Pakistan, that he's got five wickets at Lord's - all these things to remind him he has done good things in the past.

"He has over 100 wickets in Test matches which is a great achievement - and he has plenty of feats left in him. Monty has that potential to win games single-handedly."

The series will also be England's first opportunity to put the recent captain and coach restructuring to the test.

Kevin Pietersen resigned as captain and Peter Moores was sacked as coach in January, with the breakdown in the pair's working relationship making headlines across the globe.

However, with Andrew Strauss leading the tour as captain, Mushtaq believes the spirit in the camp is good, saying: "There's a great atmosphere in the camp.

Panesar just needs confidence - Mushtaq

"Everyone is having fun, enjoying each other's company, practicing hard - the goal for them now is to start winning games."

And that sentiment is echoed by Graham Thorpe, the man who topped the averages with 91.33 the last time England toured the Windies in 2004.

"If England don't get off to a good start then all the recent shenanigans will rear their head again in the media and they will then have to deal with a difficult series," Thorpe told BBC Sport at a special event at the Surrey County Cricket Club Academy.

If, as I expect them to, England get off to a good start then they should go on and win the series

Graham Thorpe
"But if, as I expect them to, England get off to a good start then they should go on and win the series.

"Barbados and Jamaica are the two result wickets, traditionally, with Antigua quite flat and Trinidad a bit slow.

"The West Indies attack still has pace but they don't have the consistency of yesteryear, so England need to get through the hard work and the tough periods when they come along.

"The Windies will bowl well from time to time but if England can keep them out in those periods I expect us to post big scores. Then if we bowl anything like we know we can, I expect us to take wickets and win matches."

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see also
Moores backs under-fire Panesar
16 Dec 08 |  England
The making of Monty
10 Dec 08 |  England

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