London, Jan 26: Some would say grapes are sour, but England left arm spinner Ashley Giles has revealed he had to battle two opponents to keep his place, one being obviously Australia and the other--`Montymania`.
Giles, who was replaced by Monty Panesar for the final three Tests, said he was dropped because of the clamour for Montymania .
As he spoke for the first time about the Monty phenomenon, he admitted: ``I was battling not only against Australia but against Montymania. It was more than just competition for places. It was the hype around Monty, leading to the talk of sports personality of the year and everything else.``
He however thinks there is no personal rivalry between the two spinners but feels he has been unfairly discarded due to Monty`s growing popularity. ``There s nothing personal between us but Monty had become such a major figure it seemed he had to play,`` Giles said.
The left-armer is left wondering whether people have forgotten all the good work he has done till now for the team. ``It was almost as if they were stringing up effigies of (Duncan) Fletcher and burning them in the streets of London town. There are moments when you think, `have people forgotten what I`ve done for this team?` he adds dejectedly.
However, facts tell a different story as Giles had three series wickets at 87.3 to Panesar`s 10 at 37.9.
About the Sikh of tweak, he says ``Monty is a very good bowler but there are other areas he needs to work on. As a spinner in England, you need to do other things. To be a lone spinner who bats at 10 or 11, you must get five and six wickets hauls regularly.``
He was included for the first two tests primarily to bolster England s batting line-up in favour of Panesar who had become the golden boy of English cricket last summer as Giles recovered from a hip operation.
As if the Montymania was not enough, Giles had to spend sleepless nights in the hospital, as he feared his wife Stine might not survive a brain tumour operation.
``Stine had been due to fly with our two children to Australia so thank goodness the doctors spotted it because, if she had flown, she could have died mid-air,`` Giles said.
However, all is not lost for the lanky spinner after becoming the fall guy of a disastrous ashes tour as he is included in England’s 30-man squad for the World Cup.