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Monty's grandparents await his return

March 08, 2006 19:58 IST

Having missed out on watching live his grandson's cricket debut, England spinner Monty Panesar's septuagenarian grandparents are eagerly awaiting his return to his ancestral homeland to play in the second cricket Test against India.

Panesar became the first Sikh to play for England in the first Test at Nagpur, where he claimed the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar for his maiden Test scalp.

"My son Rajinder Singh (Panesar's paternal uncle), who is settled in New Zealand called me up from there and congratulated us saying Monty had taken his first wicket. We were slightly unfortunate to have missed the action on TV, but tomorrow there will be no regrets," said Hari Singh, Monty's grandfather.

The 78-year-old Ludiana native fondly recalled his grandson's coming of age as a cricketer.

"When we went to Luton in 1995, we always used to find a ball and a bat in his hand. He used to keep banging the ball on the wall and play shots with his bat. Monty was just 13 then," Hari Singh said.

"He did not let any hour pass by without practising and sometimes making his living rooms as the play field."

As a teenager it was very clear to Monty that he wanted to play cricket, which his father, Paramjit Singh, a well-known building contractor in Luton, also wanted him to pursue passionately.

Hari Singh said during their visit to Luton last year they found Panesar was completely devoted to the sport.

"Monty would be up early in the morning, even before we woke up. At five in the morning, he used to practice at a stadium near Glasgow, over 30 miles from his home. He practised hard and sometimes used to return late in the night," said Singh.

Hari Singh said Monty completed his graduation last year but he was crazy about cricket.

"Seeing him mad about cricket, I told him why do not you take up some job. His reply was 'Daddu (grandpa) just give me six months and then you will see'.

"I used to see him on TV playing the matches there."

Singh, a retired mechanical supervisor from the Indian Railways, originally hails from Gattowal in Ludhiana district, but his eldest son, 50-year-old Paramjit, decided to settle in England after obtaining a science graduate's degree from Banaras Hindu University.

"Paramjit got married to a Punjabi in England and has three children -- two sons and a daughter. Other two are younger than Monty. Monty's brother Ishar Singh is also passionate about cricket and is influenced a lot by what his brother is doing," Hari Singh said.

"I am pleased that his coach and teammates are backing him up," he added.

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