Monty Panesar: Essex spinner still has England ambitions

Monty Panesar
Essex spinner Monty Panesar has taken 167 wickets in 50 Tests for England

Essex spinner Monty Panesar says he wants to get back into the England side ahead of the start of the new County Championship season.

The former Sussex bowler played the last of his 50 England Tests in a loss to Australia in the 2013-14 Ashes series.

He took 42 wickets in Division Two last year at an average of 26.45.

"I still have that drive and that ambition to play for England," the 32-year-old told BBC Essex.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid and off-spinner James Tredwell were the only spin bowlers named in the England squad to tour the West Indies, and have just one Test cap between them.

"I want to put in some good performances for Essex, and I want to be happy about my game and be in a happy place," added Panesar.

"Hopefully the rest will take care of itself.

"Hopefully England will take notice and I'll come back into the England team as well."

Monty Panesar's career bowling averages
First-class Test ODIs
Matches: 213Matches: 50Matches: 26
Wickets: 697Wickets: 167Wickets: 24
Average: 30.76Average: 34.71Average: 40.83, Econ: 4.49

Panesar joined Essex in 2013, having been dismissed by former club Sussex for urinating on a nightclub bouncer in Brighton.

He was also dropped before the County Championship game with Glamorgan last year for a "timekeeping" error, but Panesar said he thinks there is still time to earn back a place in the national side.

"There's a lot of cricket left in me," he said. "I'll put in that sort of hard work and prepare myself really well.

"If I'm taking the wickets and enjoying my cricket, Monty with a smile on my face then the rest takes care of itself in terms of England."

But despite his international experience, Panesar said he needs to prove himself to the England selectors.

"I feel that in terms of my experience there is obviously no-one out there," he added. "But I know I've got to prove myself again."