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30 January 2006 PR 06/11

University delighted at Panesar’s England call

Loughborough University cricket coaches have welcomed the selection of 2005 graduate Monty Panesar into the full England cricket squad to tour India for the up-coming Test series.

Panesar has been a recognisable figure at Loughborough for the last four years, both as a student and with a year at the campus-based England National Academy squad.

Director of Cricket Guy Jackson said: “This is just the type of recognition that the University-based Cricket Centres of Excellence (UCCE) programme needs. Both Alex Loudon who graduated from Durham University and went on the Pakistan tour and now Monty Panesar from Loughborough University completed their degrees and benefited from the facilities, coaching and other support at University before returning to their County Clubs and had highly successful playing seasons.

“The UCCEs are designed to prevent aspiring cricket professionals having to choose between a sporting career and continuing in education to the highest level. Monty is a great example of someone with determination, and good support from both his County Club and the University Centre, making it to the top in the sport, without foregoing qualifications, which are imperative if players' careers don’t develop.”

Panesar came to Loughborough University in 2001-2002 to study Computing and Management, and to be a part of the Loughborough Cricket Centre of Excellence. He was already known to be a highly talented young cricketer, with much press interest in a young Sikh looking capable of one day playing for England. Having played for England Under 19s, Monty continued to develop as a player at the University under the watchful eye of Loughborough’s Head Cricket Coach, the ex England Test bowler Graham Dilley. He made his First Class debut for Northants in 2001, taking eight wickets in the match. Panesar looked at his best when playing against good sides and particularly in the University’s County 1st team matches. Panesar took 4 wickets in his first County match for Loughborough against Kent, and was regularly a leading wicket taker for Loughborough. He was also selected for British Universities against the touring Test teams.

Monty’s career looked set to continue on an upward track, with selection for the England National Academy under Rod Marsh in 2003-2004. But after a year with the National Academy and a relatively disappointing County season, Panesar returned to the University to complete his final year. The Summer of 2005 proved spectacularly successful, with Loughborough achieving a clean sweep of all the University championships, Monty successfully completing his degree, and on returning to Northants he took a prodigious 46 wickets in just 8 County Championship matches, catching the eye of both press and selectors.

Loughborough Coach Graham Dilley has always pushed Panesar. “No one works harder than Monty on his bowling, but we did have to encourage him to work on the weaker parts of his game that didn’t come as naturally,” says Dilley. “Much has been made of the weaknesses in his batting and ground fielding – and we’ve made him work hard on those – and he acknowledges that he has to. He responded particularly well in the last year when a new coaching regime at Northants made him look more critically at his own game. Through the winter he worked hard both at Northampton and Loughborough. It's credit to Monty that he also made time to complete his degree – which was not always easy. We’ve been impressed that he’s continued to work on those parts of his game, and the recent trip to Australia, where he worked hard on batting and fielding, has shown his determination. He’s an attacking bowler and is capable of taking wickets at any level. We wish him well in this next phase in his career.”

Panesar now joins the full England squad which will again do much of their pre-tour preparation work at Loughborough at the National Cricket Centre on campus. From there Monty proceeds to the land of his roots for a daunting debut tour – but proud to be the first Sikh to be picked for England.

Ends

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Notes to editors

  1. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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