10 Dec 2011

Panesar returns to England fold

12:29 pm on 10 December 2011

England recalled spinner Monty Panesar in their 16-man squad for the upcoming Test cricket series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The series, being played in the UAE because of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan, will be England's first since they went to No.1 in the world Test rankings during a 4-0 home thrashing of India earlier this year.

Left-arm spinner Panesar, who has been playing club cricket for Randwick-Petersham in Sydney, has been in the international wilderness since playing the last of his 39 Tests two years ago, when his tailend resistance with the bat helped England cling on for a draw in the 2009 Ashes opener against Australia in Cardiff.

But with pitches in the UAE expected to take turn, Panesar - whose 126 Test wickets have come at an average of just under 35 apiece - has been selected as the second spinner behind off-break bowler Graeme Swann.

England captain Andrew Strauss will lead a tour party featuring several players returning from injury in batsman Eoin Morgan (shoulder) and fast bowlers Chris Tremlett (back) and Stuart Broad (shoulder).

England will name their squads for the one-day and Twenty20 legs of the tour at a later date.