The Investec Ashes 2013 August 17, 2013

England may look at Kerrigan


England will name their final Test squad of the summer on Sunday morning and it could be the most interesting of the season. Tim Bresnan is out of contention, opening a spot in the pace department, and there may also be an indication of some of the players in line to tour Australia later this year.

Monty Panesar's recent problems, which are a cause for some serious concern around the game, raise the question of who is now the No. 2 to Graeme Swann. It would be a surprise for England to play two frontline spinners at The Oval but like at Old Trafford, when Panesar was included, the selectors may want to offer Andy Flower and Alastair Cook the option should the surface resemble a dustbowl.

Heading that queue now is Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire left-arm spinner, who has 47 wickets at 20.23 in the Championship (albeit Division Two) which makes him the leading spinner in the country. He played against the Australians at Wantage Road in the two-day fixture and took 1 for 66 in 17 overs, although did receive some punishment from Shane Watson.

He has been on the England radar for a couple of seasons - a regular in Lions squads - and given the gap in wickets between him and any other contenders it would be a surprise if the selectors went elsewhere should they want a second spinner. Because of the success of Swann and Panesar in recent years it is one area where they have not had to dig too deep.

Given England's desire for continuity, Bresnan's replacement is strongly tipped to be Chris Tremlett who has been part of the squad for the previous two matches, although the selectors will likely name another option as well. Graham Onions' broken finger will rule him out so there could be a recall for Steven Finn or a maiden call-up for Warwickshire's Boyd Rankin who has been part of the one-day squads already this summer.

The enforced absence of Bresnan may also quell any thoughts - if they existed - of resting Anderson who has not been at his best since Trent Bridge. After a week off between Tests, the likelier option for Anderson is that he will be excused the one-day duties which follow during September.

Kevin Pietersen's troublesome knee could require some batting cover although earlier this week he was confirmed as being available for selection. Again, previous experience this season suggests that James Taylor is the next in line for a middle-order spot although Gary Ballance struck a timely hundred against the Australians for the Lions.

Jonny Bairstow has not convinced during the series, with 203 runs at 29, but at 3-0 up England are unlikely to make changes for the sake of it but there are arguments to make for Taylor or Ballance to slot into the middle order. One of them is likely to be part of the squad to tour Australia later in the year.

Possible squad Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Simon Kerrigan, Steven Finn, James Taylor

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2013, 8:38 GMT

    Tremlett's ability to bowl lots of overs isn't proven, especially compared to Bresnan who often shows good stamina. Going with three pace bowlers who like to bowl short spells plus an debutant spinner who the Australian batsmen (Watson, Warner) might try and hit out of the attack seems a bit risky. Personally, I'd like to see Kerrigan in for Bresnan and Stokes for Bairstow, this might not lengthen the tail too much as Bairstow's not been in sparkling form so far.

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    If England are to look ahead to this winter's return Ashes, they'd do well to take a look at a few new players for the final test. Root, not Bairstow is the failure at present. Apart from the 180 he was very lucky to get, he has only looked slightly more composed than Khawaja and Bairstow's fielding has been truly glorious! Let Ballance and Kerrigan come into the squad as a sign of recognition, but don't play them. Play the following: Cook, Compton, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Taylor, Bairstow (wk), Broad, Swann, Tremlett, Anderson. That way, you get a lot of questions answered without unduly risking an Ashes Test.

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - This Year, both Lancashire and Northamptonshire are doing very well indeed against the First-class counties in the YLB40 & FLt20. Just a a week ahead of the Third Test, Kerrigan took 12-252 (out of 15 Glamorgan wickets to fall) on an Old Trafford pitch similar to but far more batsman-friendly to that used for the test. Last year, in the 1st division, Kerrigan took 50 wickets at 33.48. Finally, no one knows anything really about the new OT pich, it's Aigburth that has a reputation as a result pitch.

  • Ski on August 18, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    landl47 - I just hope Yorkshire have some batsmen left when England have finished with them! The only sport where teams are punished for producing good youngsters! But on a serious note agree with your thoughts on Ballance and agree to a degree on Bairstow, although i still think he has be harshly done by at times being in and out of the team. Think he may need dropping and given a year or 2 in county cricket before hopefully coming back stronger.

  • Jason on August 18, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    @Landl, Ballance has certainly made a statement to the selectors, and it maybe that he replaces Bairstow who's had an indifferent summer.

    The only other possible chance and not mentioned in the article could be Stokes for Bresnan, as he has the potential to become a genuine all rounder.

    The question is are the selectors going to look longer term and rest anderson who has looked exhausted in the last couple of games, in which case Tremlett comes in.

  • Cameron on August 18, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    @landl47, another pretty sound assessment, I agree with you. As for England dominance, yep the scoreline says that but I think it's fair to say Australia have played some decent cricket, arguably better than England with the ball and some batsmen look like they are getting there. I think just getting one win will help. It won't turn things around overnight but I feel the return series will be close. Forget about 5-0 talk, that's pure fantasy.

  • John on August 18, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    It's not England's way to make a lot of changes, so unless there are fitness issues I don't expect many. I am anxious to see Gary Ballance in the side as quickly as possible; he seems to me to have the potential to be a great player, not just a good one as, say, Taylor and Bairstow might be. If it is thought wise to rest KP, then it would be my hope that Ballance would be in the side.

    Otherwise, I wasn't at all impressed by Tremlett in the T20 semi and final today. He was barely getting above 80mph and had little life off the pitch. Finn would be a better bet; having had a few weeks to work on his rhythm and control (the speed was already there) he might be ready to knock over a few Aussie wickets.

    There's a lot of carping about Bairstow, but in a low-scoring series he's held his own and his technique seems to be getting better and tighter all the time. He's shared in some useful partnerships and his fielding is outstanding. No reason to drop him now.

  • John on August 18, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    @asraruwant on (August 17, 2013, 21:35 GMT), if England don't have immediate plans for Robson then to pick him for just one or two games now just so that he couldn't play for Australia would be very poor form. I have no sympathy for Australia in that regard but more for Robson himself. Obviously England can't make promises because he would need to perform but if they have no specific plans to select him regularly then it would be cruel to deny him the chance to pursue a international career with Australia if he's eligible. He may not make either team for a while though because, while Australia's batting doesn't look great, they have less of a need for an opener than someone to play in the 3-6 area. He might have to wait for Rogers to retire to get a gig with Australia anyway as he's been one of the few batting success stories for Australia so to discard him now would be criminal and to move him a bit of a risk.

  • John on August 18, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Kerrigan's an interesting one. He has done well in the CC but that's in division 2 and on a home ground that has a reputation for spin. He also took a bit of tap from Watson in the last tour game, but Watson was playing without pressure and has done well in other tour games too, only to fall away in the Tests. If England are thinking of playing Swann for the limited-overs fixtures against Australia then resting him for the last Test may be a good idea. If they intend to play Tredwell then I guess Swann should play the last Test if fit. As for a replacement for Bresnan, I think Rankin has done better than Tremlett in the CC but I'm sure they see Tremlett back in the team for the winter so maybe a trial by fire now would be a good idea. I'd probably rather see Finn back though, to see whether he has gone some way to addressing the form slump that got him dropped.

  • John on August 18, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    The Oval always takes spin. Remember 2009? Not a bad idea to go with 5 bowlers, 2 spinners + 3 seamers. Broad, Swann and Temlett at #7, #8, #9 are not that bad of a tail.

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