Monty Panesar will look to play domestic cricket overseas this winter, with a view to joining a fourth county next year, after Essex confirmed on Tuesday that the former England spinner will be released from their books at the end of the current campaign.
Panesar, who last played for his country on the 2013-14 Ashes tour, has spent the past two seasons at Chelmsford following a loan move from Sussex in 2013 but was forced to take time away from the game earlier this summer to address personal problems.
The 33-year-old subsequently played for Luton Indians in the Hertfordshire League before returning to the Essex first team for their Division Two fixture with Surrey last month – just his third first-class game of the season – where he claimed his 700th first-class wicket.
Panesar’s abilities with the ball in hand have never been in question, with the former Northamptonshire and Sussex left-armer claiming 167 wickets in 50 Tests since his debut in Nagpur in 2006, including 17 in the historic 2-1 series win in India three years ago.
But despite a career in which at one stage he was ranked the sixth-best Test bowler in the world, he is now hoping a spell abroad in the new year can convince a county he is worth a fresh chance as he continues to overcome off-field issues.
Neil Burns, the former Somerset wicketkeeper who acts as a mentor to Panesar, told the Guardian: “Monty is very disappointed to be leaving Essex. He enjoyed playing for them. He is going to take some time now to reflect on his career but the priority remains his wellbeing, with cricket coming second.
“He will look to play some overseas cricket this winter and hopefully the correct opportunity unfolds that can help support his ongoing development, so by April we will have confirmation that he is back to his best. And I still feel his best years could be ahead of him.
“Some of the work he has done this summer has highlighted his ambition to have another crack at the highest level. His appetite is still strong and he will continue. He is one of the few world-class spinners in the game and we have to do all we can to nurture these specialist skills.”
This article was written by Ali Martin, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 15th September 2015 17.54 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010