Ex-England cricketer Monty Panesar is standing for election in London. GETTY IMAGES

The Workers Party of Britain (WPB) is fielding Panesar, who played 50 Tests for England between 2006 and 2013, as one of 200 candidates in the capital. He will be standing in the Ealing Southall constituency.

One of the most charismatic left-arm spinners, Monty Panesar played 50 Tests for England between 2006 and 2013. He took 167 wickets. He is 42 years old. He will be one of the candidates for the Workers Party of Britain (WPB), announced by party leader George Galloway.

Born Mudhsuden Singh Panesar in Luton, north of London, to Sikh parents who emigrated from the Punjab in India. He became a fan favourite and a distinctive figure on the field, wearing a black patka. Perhaps that is why the former cricket player was chosen by Galloway, who won re-election last March after expressing his outrage at the Israel-Hamas conflict, to stand in the Ealing Southall constituency in west London in the election due later this year. 

Galloway told LBC radio that Panesar "will be our candidate in Southall", which is a predominantly Sikh area. "Monty, of course, was a great left-arm spinner. We could use him," he said.

Panesar, accompanied by Galloway in the announcement of his candidacy. GETTY IMAGES
Panesar, accompanied by Galloway in the announcement of his candidacy. GETTY IMAGES

To be elected, he will have to overcome a majority of 16,084 set by Virendra Sharma of the main opposition Labour party in the last national vote in 2019.

Panesar said: "I want to defend the working class and tackle the wealth gap in Britain. "When I played for England, I got a lot of support from the fans and the whole nation. That got me where I am today," he told the national Press Association news agency, as quoted by AFP. "Now it's my turn to really help the working class. Whatever problems they have. The gap between rich and poor is widening."

Panesar said: "Galloway's party is more in tune with the working class than Keir Starmer's Labour, which traditionally attracts blue-collar voters.

Manesar was one of the most popular players with the fans of the club. GETTY IMAGES
Manesar was one of the most popular players with the fans of the club. GETTY IMAGES

Galloway, a former Labour lawmaker, is hoping to capitalise on what he sees as a dissatisfaction with the Conservative government and other mainstream parties.

Starmer is widely expected to win the election. However, Galloway has condemned him for his stance on Israel's military action against Hamas in Gaza and hopes to exploit Labour divisions over the issue. It is this division that Panesar's party hopes will help it grow and take a big step forward.

The Workers Party has set out a 10-point programme. It includes a call for "an end to imperialist wars and financial domination, starting with withdrawal from NATO".

Galloway said voters were rejecting the "Tweedledee and Tweedledum politics" of the Conservatives and Labour, as well as "culture war" issues over "race and gender, work and green and quackery".

"We are standing up for working people. Our country is falling apart... I don't think we've got this much to worry about since 1941," he added. "And there's no Mr Churchill to step in."

Panesar was primarily a finger-spin bowler with his left arm. He was described as "the best finger spinner in the world" by former England coach Duncan Fletcher early in his career. He gained charisma. He was one of the most popular players with the fans. Over the years, Panesar has acquired many nicknames. He is most commonly known simply as Monty, 

However other nicknames have included 'The Python' (a reference to Monty Python), 'The Sikh of Tweak' (probably a humorous reference to Australian player Shane Warne's nickname 'The Sheikh of Tweak'), 'Parmesan Tony' (an anagram). Another always referred to him as "The Beard to Fear".

He recorded the best innings and match figures of his career during the 2012 season. He took 7-60 in the first innings and 6-77 in the second to finish with 13-137 in the match against Somerset. He made his debut for England in 2006. His last Test was in 2013.