LONDON: England spinner Monty Panesar has admitted that he thought he had destroyed his international career after being fined for urinating on a nightclub doorman. The incident occurred two months ago, after Panesar was asked to leave a club in Brighton on the English south coast.
The 31-year-old was fined by police and released by county side Sussex, but he was nonetheless named in the England squad for the return Ashes series in Australia later this year.
He says that he regrets the incident, but insists that it was not a deliberate act. “I know it looks terrible, but I wasn’t as drunk as people believe,” he told British weekly newspaper The Mail on Sunday. “Yes, I’d had a lot to drink, but I wasn’t paralytic. I was asked to leave and then got caught short. The next thing I knew the bouncers were shouting at me and running after me. “I swear I didn’t see them and I had no intention of purposefully urinating on them or near them. To be honest, I barely went (urinated) at all and I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit them.”
“My first reaction was that I’d just thrown my England career away, maybe even my whole cricket career. I felt very lonely and very depressed. It was a very dark time.”
However, after joining Essex for the remainder of the domestic season, he called the England management to apologise for his behaviour and was rewarded with an international recall. “I just can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the selection,” Panesar said. “It’s an incredible boost I needed as a cricketer and as a person, after a chapter in my life I’m ashamed of.”
Matters were made worse when a video of Panesar being restrained by bouncers from the club emerged a few days after the incident, which his new Essex team-mates took great delight in showing him.
“I knew it was out there, but I hadn’t seen it and had no wish to, either,” Panesar said. “But the boys showed it in the dressing room and had a friendly laugh at my expense. It’s how sport deals with things like this.
“I was fine with it but, of course, it didn’t make great viewing. I’ve seen it now, I lost whatever dignity I had, and I have no intention of ever seeing it again.”
Panesar was the subject of fresh controversy this week when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) handed him a suspended one-game ban for acting in a “potentially threatening and intimidating” manner towards Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley.