Cricket

Monty Panesar hopes to earn England recall after revealing paranoia struggles

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Monty Panesar still has the desire to play for England after bravely confronting the issues that have stalled his career over the past couple of years.

The left-arm spinner's absence during England's Test series defeat to Pakistan on the turning United Arab Emirates tracks was keenly felt as Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Samit Patel struggled in the desert.

But Panesar, who has taken 167 wickets in 50 Tests, was not even under consideration after he was released by Essex at the end of last season due to off-field turmoil, candidly admitting he struggled with bouts of paranoia.

The 33-year-old told BBC Sport: "Things started to go wrong when I was quite low on confidence and when I got low on confidence I got paranoid thoughts starting to take place in my mind.

"I would feel that people are not being supportive of me, team-mates are out to get me or they're not with me, even maybe the fans, the whole cricket world is not being supportive of me."

Panesar - who was a popular figure among England fans due to his exuberant wicket-taking celebrations - revealed he sought help from a hypnotherapist, a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist.

He said: "I kind of thought that (the world being against him) was the truth but what was the truth was I was being in denial and being in denial for quite a long time.

"I've been working with a hypnotherapist and experienced psychotherapists, who made me understand 'this is the damage that you're causing within the cricketing environment, with your team-mates, with your coaches'.

"I wasn't strongly aware of it until I started to get some help and then I began to realise I'm actually digging myself huge holes within my dressing room."

As he continues his recovery, Panesar is looking for another county ahead of the 2016 season - and will have one eye on an international recall, with England next winter touring Bangladesh and India, countries where spin is likely to have a decisive factor in the outcome.

He said: "I have a huge appetite to work hard and get my cricket back on track.

"I really would love to continue to play professional sport and my aim is to get my well-being right, be in a happy place and then hopefully get back playing cricket for England."

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