Monty Panesar set to play grade cricket in Australia

England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar is to play first-grade cricket for Sydney-based club side Randwick Petersham later this year.

The Sussex man played the last of his 39 Tests for England in July 2009.

Having been in the Ashes squad in Australia last winter, he will hope to maintain his push for a recall.

England do not play a Test until they face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in January and February, before heading to Sri Lanka in March. 

PANESAR'S TEST RECORD

  • Tests: 39 (debut v India, Nagpur, March 2006)
  • Wickets: 126
  • Average: 34.37
  • Best: 6-37 (v New Zealand, Old Trafford, May 2008)
  • Economy rate: 2.87
  • Five-wicket hauls: 8

But they are likely to name two or three spinners in their Test squad for the UAE and Sri Lanka, with the latter especially renowned for its spin-friendly conditions.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann is established as England's number one spinner in all formats of the game, but will need back-up.

Panesar, 29, has taken 56 County Championship wickets at 28.53 this season, and having been Swann's understudy in Australia, may be asked to fill that role again.

Some commentators - including BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott - had even called for Panesar to play in the final Test against India at The Oval  as part of a five-man bowling attack, although England have persisted with a four-strong Test attack for over a year.

He will face competition for the second spinner's berth from fellow slow left-armer Samit Patel, 26, who is in the squad for the forthcoming one-day international series with India.

You need your two best spinners to win on the sub-continent, and I think Monty's our second best spinner

Former England captain Michael Vaughan

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live's "Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show" on Monday evening, gave his backing to Panesar.

"You need your two best spinners to win on the sub-continent," Vaughan said.

"I hope we don't pick an itsy-bitsy [spinner] like Samit Patel. I think Monty's the second-best spinner so you've got to find a place for him in the team."

Cricket New South Wales' website  announced that Panesar, whose season with Sussex finishes on 15 September, will arrive at Randwick Petersham in time for their second round of matches, which begins on 8 October.

He will play alongside Australia off-spinner Nathan Hauritz,  who has played 17 Tests but is currently out of favour with the national selectors.