Kerrigan is international-class - Moores
Peter Moores, the Lancashire coach, believes left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan is already an international-class bowler after his 9 for 51 bowled the county to a vital Championship victory with just four minutes to spare against Hampshire. With the second ball of what was likely to be his final over of the match, he had Neil McKenzie caught at slip by Tom Smith after the final-wicket stand had lasted 21 overs.
The match-winning haul at Aigburth was his second notable analysis of the summer after he took 5 for 7 against Warwickshire, at Edgbaston, but he has been limited to three appearances because of the presence of Gary Keedy. Next summer he will be the main man if Keedy's move to Warwickshire is completed in the off-season and he certainly appears ready to take over the mantle, which will be a further shop window to impress the England selectors, having tasted Lions honours earlier this season.
"I think they are looking at him now," Moores said. "He's been unlucky this year because he hasn't played as much because Gary has done a fantastic job. He has the ability to put pace on the ball, he's got two or three different deliveries and how he bowled in the second innings was the quality of an international spinner - that's the highest compliment I can pay. He got good players out with fairly unplayable balls on a pitch that became quite subcontinental.
"When he burst onto the scene last year he immediately showed his talent," he added. "He's got a great combination; a great work ethic and real belief in his own ability and they are what you need to be a top-flight player. One of the strengths of a Lancashire player can be when they come through a mixture of the academy and the league structure; the league is a school of hard knocks while the academy provides a more structured environment."
The man himself certainly doesn't lack confidence. He demonstrated that during the final day at Aigburth when he told his captain that he'd like to bowl at Keedy's end. Glen Chapple agreed to the switch, but Kerrigan was informed "he had to perform". Kerrigan promptly took a wicket with his first delivery to remove James Vince and proceeded to take seven of his nine wickets from the River End.
"Keggsy fancied it and when someone shows belief I think you should go with them," Chapple said. "He took a wicket in his first over and there was no reason to go back. If someone believes in themselves that much you should listen to them. To take nine wickets on that pitch was a remarkable effort. It was by no means a spinner's paradise, it just shows he got quality."
Not surprisingly, after such a memorable performance, the confidence wasn't about to subside quickly. "When I get into a rhythm, and this is a bit of arrogance from myself, I feel that I can bowl as well as anyone in the world," Kerrigan said.
He had only previously taken seven wickets in an innings at any level - with his best haul coming for club side Ormskirk - and wryly pointed out the high mark he'd set himself with nine wickets. "I don't think I'll be beating them," he said. "I'll be worried now for the rest of my career but I think I'm wasting my time. It's a really great moment, and I'll remember stuff like this when I retire."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo