England captain Cook, speaking at Heathrow Airport before the team flew out to Perth, said he had not been aware fully of the personal problems that saw Panesar sacked by south coast county Sussex in August after urinating over bouncers in an incident that saw him ejected from a Brighton nightclub.
     
"Clearly he's had a tough year or so and a lot of us didn't quite know what he was going through off the pitch," Cook said.
     
"It all came to light with a couple of incidents this summer but I think he's back on the right path now," the opening batsman added.
     
Panesar rebuilt his career on loan at Essex, Cook's county, towards the end of last season although this stint was not without incident to -- the 31-year-old received a suspended England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ban for an on-field altercation with Worcestershire's Ross Whiteley.
     
But the woeful Test debut of rival left-arm spinner Simon Kerrgian in the drawn final match of the recent Ashes series -- which England won 3-0 -- at The Oval in August, strengthened Panesar's case for a Test recall.
     
With 164 wickets at an average of under 34 apiece in 48 Tests, Panesar has certainly proved his worth at international level and last November his match haul of 11 for 210 helped England to a 10-wicket win in the second Test against India in Mumbai.
     
But in Australia where pitches, with the exception of Sydney, are not renowned for aiding slow bowling, England are likely to stick with their usual policy of fielding just one specialist spinner.

(Agencies)

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