While growing up, Monty Panesar was an inspiration to me, says England off-spinner Amar Virdi

While growing up, Monty Panesar was an inspiration to me, says England off-spinner Amar Virdi

Virdi has played 23 first-class games for Surrey, picking 69 wickets.

Amar Virdi
Amar Virdi. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Guramar Singh Virdi, also known as Amar Virdi, is optimistic to make his Test debut when England lock horns with the West Indies in a three-match series. The 21-year-old Virdi was included in the Three Lions’ 30-man squad for the series, beginning on July 8 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. The second and third Test would be played at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

The Middlesex-born made his first-class debut for Surrey back in 2017. Ever since then, the youngster has played 23 first-class matches, taking 69 wickets with three five-wicket hauls and a 10-wicket haul as well. In 2019, he picked up an eight-wicket haul against Nottinghamshire that helped Surrey win the Division One County Championship match by 167 runs.

Ahead of the upcoming Tests, Virdi isn’t planning to trying too hard to show his potential. “Obviously I’m here so I want to be playing Test cricket whenever that comes, so I’m going to keep on trying my hardest to make sure that I’m playing,” Virdi was quoted as saying in India Today.

I definitely do want to be playing in the first Test match: Amar Virdi

“I don’t really try to impress as such – I want to do my own thing and be who I am. That’s what I want to show people and show people what I’m capable of doing, rather than doing other things or try to forcefully show my skills,” he stated.

Virdi has plenty of work to do since England already have spinners in the form of Jack Leach, Matt Parkinson, Dom Bess and Moeen Ali in the Test team.

“I definitely do want to be playing in the first Test match, or at least be in the squad. If I didn’t want to do that I probably shouldn’t be here. I’m very proud of myself that I’ve got to this stage. The next stage is about pushing for a Test place, so whenever that does happen I’m going to keep working hard,” Virdi added.

If Virdi finds a place in the team, he would be the third Sikh to play for England after Ravi Bopara and Monty Panesar. Virdi called Panesar and Graeme Swann his role model and also spent his formative days at the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy in Hayes.

“Growing up I watched Graeme Swann and Monty and that was very inspirational to me. Obviously with Monty as well because he looks very similar to me, especially being from the community that I am,” he added.