England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval August 18, 2013

Kerrigan and Woakes named in squad


Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire left-arm spinner, and Warwickshire allrounder Chris Woakes have been named in England's squad for the final Investec Ashes Test at The Oval. There is also a recall for Steven Finn as part of a 14-man party, while James Anderson is included with no indication that a rest is on the cards for him.

With Tim Bresnan ruled out due to a stress fracture of his back and Graham Onions not available due to a broken finger, this squad was always likely to require the selectors to look at a new name or two. Kerrigan is uncapped at all full international levels while Woakes has previously played ODIs and T20s.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "The inclusion of five pace bowlers as well as an additional spinner in Simon Kerrigan who has impressed with Lancashire and England Lions in recent years gives Andy Flower and Alastair Cook plenty of options once they have assessed the conditions at the Oval.

"Tim Bresnan has made valuable contributions with both bat and ball during the series and I would like to wish him all the very best in his recovery from his back injury. The focus for Bresnan now will be the tour of Australia later this year while this Test will provide an opportunity for another member of this squad to make equally vital contributions."

Kerrigan, 24, is now in pole position to become Graeme Swann's No. 2 following the recent problems for Monty Panesar which have left his international future in doubt. Although it remains unlikely that England will play two spinners at The Oval, Kerrigan now looks set to tour Australia later this year for the return Ashes series.

Kerrigan, a regular England Lions representative, has taken 47 wickets at 20.23 in the Championship this season (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 he did receive some punishment from Shane Watson.

Woakes, meanwhile, provides a Bresnan-like all-round option in the squad. He has been on the fringes of the Test side in recent times - he toured New Zealand and was one injury away from a debut - and has had another solid season for Warwickshire in the Championship, taking 26 wickets at 21.50 and scoring 385 runs at 42.77. He has been a frequent part of the England one-day set-up although has not secured a regular starting place in the XI.

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. If Tremlett did return, on his homeground, it would be his first Test appearance since January 2012, against Pakistan, in the UAE, although questions remain about his long-term durability following a run of serious injuries over the last 18 months.

Finn, who was dropped after the Trent Bridge Test and removed from the squad after Lord's, is back in the mix. He has taken nine wickets in two Championship matches since being omitted.

No extra batting cover has been included in the squad which indicates that Kevin Pietersen's knee, which was scanned last week following the Durham Test, is not a significant concern although he, plus James Anderson and Stuart Broad, can expect to be rested during the one-day matches next month.

Jonny Bairstow, who has not convinced during the series with 203 runs at 29, will complete the series at No. 6 but will soon face pressure for his spot from James Taylor and Gary Ballance.

Squad Alastair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Simon Kerrigan, Steven Finn, Chris Woakes

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on August 20, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    @cric_J on (August 20, 2013, 8:03 GMT) Obviously no one's sure what their bad performances are about , but if Eng were to drop them for a test and say they are being rested - rested doesn't sound as bad as dropped if you get my drift

  • shashwata on August 20, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    @JG2704: Agree that Jimmy and Prior have looked pretty out of sorts recently. But how can we be sure that their poor performances are a result of stress and fatigue only, and that resting them would help them regain their form ?

    By Jimmy's own admission, he has been below par but that has not been due to a niggle or tiredness. He just hasn't put the ball in the right areas. I feel that a reassessment and retrying of his tactics would do him a world of good as compared to sitting in an armchair,drinking coffee. Wouldn't it be better for our key bowler to correct as many issues as possible before the series down under starts ?

    Prior, IMO, has looked too eager to assert himself on the bowlers. His defence has been pathetic, if at all existent. He just hasn't given himself enough time at the crease and with the pressure considerably off, this might be a good game to correct those wrongs.

    As for the intensity and being fired up, the Ashes is synonymous to those emotions for these lads.

  • John on August 19, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    @cric_J - I half agree with you but I think a valid point is that the 2 players who some of us have been talking about resting (Prior and Jimmy) have both been somewhat out of sorts , so would the fans prefer to see out of sorts versions of these players or fired up replacements - not saying either are not fired up? As it is , looking at the squad , I don't see them resting either. Finn and CT are too similar so I don't see them playing both and I don't see them playing Woakes although they may like him for his batting. If they rest Prior they'd need to go 5/1/5 and that won't happen - as much as I'd like it. My hunch is that the bowlers will be Jimmy,Broad,Finn and Swann - which would be my 4 in a 4 man attack

    @ Train Stationer- Further to JMC's comms CT is still making his way back and I don't think he's even taken a 5 for this season. Also CT has played half the tests and all bar Pak in UAE (where his 1 test yielded no wickets) have been in decent conditions for pace

  • shashwata on August 19, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    There is a lot of talk here of resting some key players for the Oval test because the series is already in England's hand. But I'm afraid I don't quite agree with this motion. And I feel, thankfully enough, that Flower and Cook feel the same way.

    If there is an injury or a niggle to one of the players or they themselves want a break , then resting them is fine. But doing it just for the sake of experimentation isn't fair. Certainly not in a precious series like the Ashes , even if it has already been won.

    The crowd and the viewers who spend a reasonable amount of money and time want to see the best 11 of their team out on the field, the 11 who stand the best chance of winning any game of cricket for their team.

    Also, I'm sure that none of those lads in the England dressing room would voluntarily want to miss out on being part of the last test in a victorious Ashes campaign only to be wrapped up in cotton wool. So, we should probably just let it be the way they want it.

  • shashwata on August 19, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    @SDH12: Mate, I'm not one to care too much for stats and don't believe in selecting a team based on that only. Pitch, opposition etc must be taken into account too. So, for me Bres is a better test player than Woakes ATM despite what his FC stats may say. And I feel the England management second my thoughts there.

    IMO succeeding at domestic level is one thing but doing consistently well at international level is quite another. Though I agree that unless we try Chris out at the top level we'll never actually know if he is good enough or not, I guess this isn't the time for it.

    Mind you, I agree that Woakes is a great prospect. He gets decent swing and has even upped his pace now. My only issues are with his accuracy and control and the consistency with which he can bowl tight, testing spells.

    These issues are similar to the one with Finn. But since the Oval pitch with its pace, bounce and little lateral movement will certainly suit him more than Woakes, I'd go for him 200%.

  • Charles on August 19, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    I can not believe we will play 2 spinners and whilst it is good to give Kerrigan the experience it may have been better to add Taylor or Ballence to the squad as one of them is sure to travel to Australia. I like both Finn and Tremlet as bowlers and am glad I do not have to make the decision about who plays but feel we need a pure bowler to replace Bresnan . If Woakes plays he should replace Bairstow and play as an all rounder .

  • Ray on August 19, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Wickets at the Oval were dead earlier in the season. Not having seen any cricket there recently, I've no idea if the recent hot spell has had any effect?

    Anyway, notwithstanding the state of the pitch, it's not often that you get 'dead' rubbers in a Test series, so why not take the chance to try out all the 'new' boys? 3-0 or 3-1 does it really matter?

    @Cpt.Meanster: Surely, the opposite argument is true. In normal 'Test' circumstances (this has been a strange series!), the batsman will try to perserve his wicket at all costs, & not usually go after the bowler unless there is a tactical reason to do so. Hence the onus is on the bowler to produce a wicket taking ball. In 2020 especially - and to a lesser extent ODIs - the batsman will often throw his bat at anything & everything and a perfectly ordinary ball will take a wicket.

  • David on August 19, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Normally, at this stage of a series the pressure would be off the side 3-0 up. Young players could be blooded, tired ones rested and we could get a glimpse of a promising future in a carefree exciting dispay of uninhibited cricket. Unfortunately England have been so tight, and Australia so desperately competitive because there is another series immediately following. Every game matters and is an opportunity for the Aussies to take some little morsal of encouragement. England don't want to give them anything they can take with them back to the series in Aus.

    In all probability there will be another tight game with England doing just enough with the bat to win. Another total of 350, another strong display from Aus seamers, and anoher collapse under pressure. England will need their best XI to achieve it. They aren't in a position to do anything else.

  • John on August 19, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @Train Stationer on (August 19, 2013, 8:17 GMT), Tremlett certainly has the better average at Test level (26.75 vs 29.40) but loses out on strike rate (54.8 vs 48.3). That's a 9% better average for Tremlett but an 12% better strike rate for Finn. Finn could do with gaining a bit more control but he's definitely a wicket-taker and you need to take wickets to win. He's certainly worth persevering with in the hope that he develops that control. Working out a run up that works without taking him into the stumps will go a long way to doing that. I wonder what Anderson's career figures looked like when he was Finn's age.

  • Dummy4 on August 19, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Finn is not test quality, Tremlett is. Do not be deceived by County figures.