Former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who recently launched his book 'The Full Monty' told a gathering organised by the Indian Journalists' Association on Friday 13 September that he would like to take on the world of politics, possibly as the future 'Mayor of London', though he has no preferred party so far.
Speaking to Asian Voice, he said, “Politics does interest me. I live in London, I know about London, so maybe once Sadiq Khan is done, he will pass the baton on to me for Mayor of London. We haven’t decided the party I will join because I am still ambitious to play cricket. I will be working on being super fit for the county season but in the meantime, when you are not playing cricket or training, you have to occupy your mind. And, one of my activities is reading about politics."
Interested to play Ranji trophy, hoping Prime Minister Narendra Modi would help him with that, said, he fondly remembered 'Sachin Paaji' as the 'God of Cricket'. He elaborated how Sachin Tendulkar brought India on the map of world sport and not just cricket, and congratulated Virat Kohli for creating a 'fitter' team for India. Describing India as now the superpower of cricket, he also added that it is the Indian fans that make championships successful by their numbers and enthusiasm.
Panesar went through mental health issues after being dropped from the England team. He explained how he regrets that mental health is not something the Asian community in the UK discusses openly, but insists on having close friends and family to help anyone through such issues. “It is a matter of ‘izzat’ (honour). Our people say don’t talk about it, as if it doesn’t exist in our community. But isolation is the breeding ground of mental health issues. Everyone goes through a rainy day. I was in denial, but the way out of it is to talk about it”' he said.
However, speaking about his cricket journey in England, said he was more a victim of stereotyping than racism. “An Indian is always considered a spin bowler, a West Indian-origin player is invariably seen as a fast bowler, nothing else.
“Of course racism exists, it is like oxygen in the air, but I have been stereotyped as a spin bowler who can only bat at number 11. I should have worked on my batting, should have moved with the game, which changed quickly,” he added.
Panesar in his books has at length spoken about the racism faced by his parents' generation, about growing up as a happy, cricket-obsessed child in England and his thoughts about the infamous Lord Norman Tebbit cricket test, which questioned the loyalties of Britain's immigrant population.