Monty – The Great White Hope

The British have a history of hanging their hopes on men called “Monty”. The name Monty is as British as a London bus. Even the term, “The Full Monty” is British in origin and while it is used to refer to getting your gear off, in the movie of the same name, it’s literal meaning is “the whole amount”. Origins of this colloquialism are uncertain but many attribute it to certain traits of Field Marshal Montgomery. One thing that is certain, is that Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, “Monty”, of WWII glory is Britain’s most revered Monty.

Monty was, and always will be, a hero of World War II. His major triumphs include El Alamein in North Africa and the invasion of Normandy, which represented the turning of the tide in 1944. When he was most needed by his country, and the rest of the world, he delivered, along with the Americans and other allies. Monty was everything British: organised, efficient, courageous, unflappable, dogmatic and strong.

Now complete this statement: As Tim Henman is to Wimbledon, M______ is to the British (golf) Open. That’s right, the answer is Monty. Colin Montgomery, Monty, the “big hearted” Scot has carried the hopes of the Brits into many British Opens. While he seems to have the ability to win a major, he hasn’t delivered yet, though he has come close.

Which brings us to the Monty of this hour. Mudhsuden Singh Panesar, “Monty”, a Sikh of Indian descent, was born in Luton in 1982. He bowls left arm orthodox spin and is currently having a very good series against Pakistan. He is the latest Englishman to be hailed as the “real deal” by Shane Warne, and others. Panesar has played nine Tests and has 31 wickets at 30.12. In the current series against Pakistan, he leads the stats with 16 wickets at 25.75. Will he deliver in the Ashes?

We shall see, but I have some comments.

Chuckers aside, finger spinners don’t seem to cut it in Australia on a consistent basis. In Monty’s favour, he is a lefty and that helps, spinning the ball away from the right handers. I can’t think of a series dominated by any finger spinner for a very long time. Hugh Tayfield had a great series for South Africa in 1952-53. Of course, there is the odd match, where conditions suit and the likes of Underwood, Vettori, Bishen Bedi and AB have prevailed but these men are (mostly) masters of their craft. On the other hand, Monty does give the ball some flight and does spin it, which suggests he might be a favourable option to the Wheelie Bin.

Well shall see. 100 days to go.

Leave a Reply