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July 13, 2014
'Simon is a tough kid' - Cook
Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire left-arm spinner, has been recalled as part of a 14-man England squad for the second Investec Test against India at Lord's but admits he has not bowled as well as he would have hoped to so far this season.
The news of Kerrigan's inclusion confirmed what had been widely reported on Saturday evening and is the latest instalment in England trying to find a spin-bowling solution after the retirement of Graeme Swann.
It is a significant gamble by the England selectors to go back to Kerrigan less than a year after his traumatic debut against Australia at The Oval but he has been around the squad during the Trent Bridge Test following a winter where he played for England Lions in Sri Lanka.
Kerrigan, however, has learnt to accept what happened when he faced Australia where he was left with figures of none for 53 from eight overs and was not used by Alastair Cook after the opening day.
"I'd have liked to have bowled better so far this season but it's a work in progress," he said after the first day of the Championship match against Nottinghamshire during which he had been given confirmation of his recall by Mick Newell. "I have to learn from every experience I get and keep progressing.
"Over the winter I learned more about my action and about the mental side of the game. As a professional cricketer you're always learning. I learned from last year's Test that the sun will come up the day after that and that it's not the end of the world.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the first Test finished in a draw, Cook said: "He's bowled beautifully in the nets and it's good to have that option."
Kerrigan's returns for Lancashire this season have been solid but unspectacular with 28 wickets at 34.25 before the current match against Nottinghamshire began.
Quite how he would fit into the England side remains to be seen. It would need them to either go down to an attack of three specialist quicks or leave out one of the batsmen to accommodate Kerrigan. Something in his favour is the forecast of a warm period of weather at the start of the second Test.
"I keep striving for perfection and keep working towards my goal which is to get into the England side and to bowl well for England," he said. "It's a really good set up with Peter Moores, Paul Farbrace and Chris Taylor so I hope I can take a lot from last week into this week.
"There's not been a frontline spinner picked in the Tests so far, so you'd be lying a little bit if you said you weren't looking at that as a goal."
There is a concern over the workloads of England's quick bowlers. At Trent Bridge, James Anderson bowled 59 overs, Stuart Broad 54, Liam Plunkett 57 and Ben Stokes 52 after, in the case of the first three, having significant work during the Sri Lanka series.
The other 13 players in the squad are the ones that were in the initial party for Trent Bridge. Chris Jordan was left out in favour of Stokes while Chris Woakes has not made an appearance yet this season.
Another area that may have led to some consideration for the selectors was the fitness of Matt Prior who has appeared to labour with a thigh problem in the first Test. In tough keeping conditions he missed two low catches to follow a poor performance in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley although his low score with the bat was down to a incorrect umpiring decision when he was given caught behind.
Jos Buttler, his closest rival for the Test spot who was called up as cover when Prior was an injury doubt before the Test, scored another fifty for Lancashire on the first day against Nottinghamshire at Aigburth.
Squad Alastair Cook (capt), Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad, Liam Plunkett, James Anderson, Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes, Simon Kerrigan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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