England have been taking a more individual approach to player development in recent times and we’re all in favour.
Monty Panesar’s going to spend some time playing for the Bloomfield club in Colombo. He’ll get more experience of bowling in subcontinental conditions, but more importantly he’ll be dumped there on his own and might turn into a better-rounded human being.
Now we’re not picking on Monty here. We’d never do that. All we mean is that the man’s 26 and has been led by the hand his entire career. He’s played for Northamptonshire, he’s played for England and that’s it. It’ll do him no end of good to play and live abroad and have the responsibility of being the big player in a side.
He’s not going to suddenly master the doosra or the carrom ball, but he might develop a slightly different attitude – one where he’s more self-sufficient.
Quite apart from that, it’s interesting that the ECB also consider this arrangement to be useful practice before the Test series in India. We thought warming up before Test series was passé. We thought modern cricketers could just turn up on the day and perform at their very best. That’s why they have these constricted tours, right?