Monty Panesar has been included in the playing XI of the England team for the first test match against New Zealand.
Panesar was not expected to play any test match on this tour of New Zealand. The conditions in New Zealand are suitable for the seam bowlers.

So, the England team was expected to go with three fast bowlers and one spinner in all the three test matches of the series. And, that one spinner was going to be Graeme Swann. So, Panesar was expected to sit on the bench in all the three test matches.

Panesar was not included in the playing XI of England for the warm up match before the test series.

Swann was the only specialist spinner picked by England for the warm up match. While playing in that match, Swann injured his elbow and was ruled out for all the three test matches.

The only other specialist spinner in the team was Monty Panesar. So, he got a playing opportunity in the first test match.

Now, Panesar is expected to play all the test matches in the series and it’s a great opportunity for him to cement his place in the test side. He has not been a regular member of the England test side in recent years. He generally gets a playing opportunity only when the England team plays in subcontinent.

This is the opportunity for Panesar to show that he can be a wicket taking bowler outside the subcontinent as well.

Panesar was once the main spinner of the England test side, but, because of his inconsistent performances, he lost his place to Graeme Swann in 2009.

Panesar has featured for England in 45 test matches so far and has taken 159 wickets. His bowling average in test cricket is 32.64.