The lucky 16 that will travel to Australia as part of the England Ashes squad have been named, and Monty Panesar is amongst them.
Other than inclusions for Panesar and Surrey fast bowler Chris Tremlett, the squad is built around the eleven that played in the final Test match with Pakistan.
Ian Bell, Steven Davies and Tim Bresnan, who all played in the one day international with Pakistan on Wednesday, have also made the squad that is 9/4 to complete the series victory,
Sussex spinner Panesar will be taken as back-up to Graeme Swann, but his inclusion is surprising considering the form of Adil Rashid, whose domestic performances saw him finish second in the Professional Cricketers’ Association rankings.
But Panesar has previous form in Australia, taking ten wickets in three tests in the 06/07 tour, including an eight wicket-haul in the first Test at Perth.
Panesar is a long shot at 20/1 to finish as England’s leading wicket taker and it remains to be seen just how much game time he will receive with Swann proving himself as one of the best in the world.
Swann is 1/1 to be England’s leading wicket taker and Andrew Strauss will know that his first choice spin bowler will need to be on top form if England have any chance of winning the Ashes – Australia are strong 4/6 favourites to win the series.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting boasted earlier in the summer that a whitewash could be on the cards and Australia are 20/1 to win the series 5-0, but a 2-2 draw would be good enough to see Australia retain the Ashes and is 6/1.
England are 100/1 outsiders to complete a whitewash in Australia. See the full Ashes series betting odds market here.