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27 March 2007 PR 07/42

Loughborough graduate Panesar named one of Wisden’s cricketers of year

Loughborough University graduate and England spinner Monty Panesar has been named one of five cricketers of the year by cricket almanac Wisden.

Panesar, who is currently in the West Indies with the England squad at the World Cup, graduated from the University with a degree in Computing & Management, and was a member of the MCC-UCCE centre of excellence at the University.

“I don’t think Monty being named as one of the cricketers of the year was ever going to be a shock,” said University head coach Graham Dilley. “I think that it happened so quickly probably is.

“But I think it’s just testament to the amount of work he has put in and his tremendous attitude and enthusiasm for the game.”

The awards are a feature of the annual almanac, which is now in its 144th year and goes on sale on Wednesday. Players can only be named among the five Cricketers of the Year once in their careers.

The other players were Panesar’s England team mate Paul Collingwood, former England batsman Mark Ramprakash, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf.

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was named Leading Cricketer in the World.

Panesar had a tremendous rise in 2006 since his test debut in March, claiming India’s Sachin Tendulkar as his first wicket. He then took five-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka and Pakistan before being named in the Ashes squad for the tour of Australia and after being left out of the opening two tests, returned to claim five for 92 in Perth.

The 24-year-old, who worked hard over the winter to improve his batting and fielding after it was questioned by former players, has also claimed a place in England’s one-day team.

“Monty has always worked hard at his cricket. I think it’s fair to say he was more interested in the bowling side, but you could never fault his effort and it is that has given him the rewards,” added Dilley.

“I’ve seen him develop from when he first arrived at the University to when he graduated and you were worried for him with his batting and his fielding, but he has won people over with his enthusiasm for the game of cricket.

“You wish more people had that.”

Dilley said it was no surprise to him that Panesar had worked so hard to improve his batting and fielding, particularly given the way he had handled his studies while at Loughborough.

“He got through it and it wasn’t easy for him because of everything else we asked him to do. It’s tough, but he’s done it and he’s reaping the rewards.

“It does reflect well on us, but for me I’m more pleased for Monty because it shows where you could end up being within a couple of years of graduating if you have the ability and work hard.”

Ends

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Notes to editors

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 in the top five 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.

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