Wire Service: IANS
On August 21, 2006 the Indo-Asian News Service reported, "Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to play Test cricket for England, is fast becoming not only a British cricket icon but also hot property for marketing professionals and a model for racial harmony. The youthful verve and hard work on the cricket field has endeared Panesar to many - his fans now turn up at cricket grounds with wigs and artificial beards to look like Panesar. Cricket experts are at a loss to remember when a British cricketer of Indian origin evoked such admiration among the still conservative cricket establishment here. Luton, the town where he hails from, was until recently in the news as the place where the July 7 London bombers had congregated before taking the train to London on that fateful day. The town has been associated with Muslim extremism, but Luton residents now hope Panesar's feat on the cricket ground would erase the town's unholy reputation. A distinctive feature of Panesar's rise is that he has done so by retaining all the adornments of Sikhism. The small Sikh community in Britain is celebrating Panesar's success."