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

Kerrigan soaks up 'surreal' feeling


Simon Kerrigan spent much of Sunday still trying to soak up the "surreal" experience of being named in an Ashes squad after being handed his first senior call-up for the final Investec Ashes Test at The Oval. However, Peter Moores, his county coach, believes he is there by right rather and not because of the difficulties being faced by Monty Panesar.

Little more than two weeks ago, Panesar was part of England's squad for the Old Trafford Test, but shortly after that his season came off the rails during a night out in Brighton, which led to him being fined for drunk and disorderly conduct. The matter is still being investigated by Sussex, but Panesar is on the brink of needing a new county and is seemingly facing a lengthy period away from the international scene.

That has led to England needing to reconsider who is their No. 2 spinner to Graeme Swann and there was not really a second option behind Kerrigan despite James Tredwell's stellar one-day performances this year. Kerrigan, with 47 wickets in the Championship, is far and away the most prolific spinner this season and has been a regular with England Lions. It was a logical progression.

It would still be a surprise if he played at The Oval - two spinners, especially in a four-man attack, is rarely seen outside of the subcontinent by England - but even if he does not earn a first cap on Wednesday, he has two days to train in front of Andy Flower and Alastair Cook ahead of their deliberations over the Test squad to Australia later this year.

"I found out yesterday when I got a call from Geoff Miller. I'm delighted to be selected, but it was a bit hard to take in when he rang," Kerrigan told the Lancashire website. "It all felt a bit surreal to be honest. Hopefully I can impress over the next couple of days and be ready if they choose two spinners.

"I've been inundated with messages of good luck and congratulations. My phone went into a bit of a meltdown this morning, and I'm grateful for all the messages and good wishes."

Moores has overseen the rise of Kerrigan since taking over as Lancashire coach in 2009, during which time Kerrigan had assumed the No. 1 mantle even before Gary Keedy's departure to Surrey, and he now sees a potential changing of hierarchy in England's spin options behind Graeme Swann.

"Monty's obviously had an interesting season and also an interesting few weeks and I think the one thing you would say is that Simon has statistically performed much better than Monty has this season, so that's probably why he's got his recognition as much as anything else,'' Moores told Sky Sports News.

"The key here is Simon's earned that right through his own performance and what he does do is get a lot of five-wicket hauls. So when he gets on a roll he seems to really be able to drive that home and make a big difference in a game, and that's something I think would excite England.''

"What he does is he spins it hard, not dissimilar to Graeme Swann in that respect. Graeme does give the ball a heck of a rip and gets turn on almost any surface and Simon's similar, he spins the ball very hard, he's an aggressive attacking spinner."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mike on August 20, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    I like the look of this Kerrigan, his stats are certainly impressive. Be nice if he could improve his batting a bit also. Much like Swann is a handy batter, not sure if he is capable of Swanns batting stats but a Test avg of 15 is useful still.

    Either way good to know we have a promising young spinner as Swann is the main reason we win games still. Or at least I think he is, of course Anderson is vital, but Swann is more vital to me. He offers useful batting and is a fine slip fielder.

    When Swann dioes retire whoever gets the role as Test spinner has big shoes to fill.

  • Steve on August 19, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    Could England be bold enough to bat Prior at 6 to squeeze Woakes and Kerrigan in? I know Prior's form is poor at present but the touring squad will be picked quite soon and we need to look at players other than Panasar and Tremlett. Kerrigan's got to play even if it means giving Anderson or Swann a rest. He's the most attacking slow left-armer in the country and now is the time for him. Not sure about Woakes but he has 22 wickets in his last 10 games whereas Tremlett has 8 wickets from his last 10. Woakes deserves at least one game at the highest level and would survive a gruelling tour of Australia whereas Tremlett wouldn't.

  • Chris on August 19, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    people might criticize bring potential' players during a test series but what has Tremlett done this season? surely he'd be getting picked on what he could do rather than whats hes been doing this season. I'd like to see Woakes play instead of Bresnan. hes been in the ODI and T20 teams without ever impressing at county level in those formats. He is clearly a 4/5 player and this is a good move by ECB

  • Peter on August 19, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    I think England will very much want a left armer going forward as Joe Root will be able to provide some useful part time right arm off spin which will mean a more balanced spin attack

  • Robert on August 19, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Some people talk nonsense - this is an Ashes test and you play your best side. Now is not the time to tinker and use it as a trial for other players (that's the Lions games).

    The only change will be the one forced by injury - Tremlett in for Bresnan.

  • Mike on August 19, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    As a pure SLA bowler I'm surprised they aren't looking at George Dockrell rather than Kerrigan. Both good bowlers but one has 50 international matches under his belt and to my eyes is the better of the two.

    Saying that I wouldn't wtire Monty off. He's still young for a spinner and I'm sure we'll see him in an England shirt again.

  • Peter on August 19, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    Briggs and Borthwick are seen as one day spinners and Kerrigan is seen as a 4/5 day spinner. You don't get picked for tests on one day form and you don't get picked for one day stuff on 4/5 day form. Kerrigan is doing well in 4 day county cricket, the other two mentioned are not doing well at 4 day stuff but are doing well in the short form of the game

  • Dummy4 on August 19, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    As a Lancashire devotee for, ooh, ever since I was old enough to say "Brian Staham," I've been thrilled at Kerrigan's progress over the last couple of years or so. If it was up to me, I'd give Swann - who's bowled his heart out - the option of a rest in the next Test, but he'd probably want to play anyway - and give Kerrigan a chance to show what he can do. A lot of praise for his development has to go to Peter Moores - who didn't over-bowl him when he was learning his trade - and Gary Keedy, who Kerrigan learned so much off a couple of years back. Now the lad can bowl long spells without tiring and doen't just try to contain batsmen, he's always on the attack. The only downside to Kerrigan's call-up is that Lancashire will probably, from next season onwards, only have him available for 2-3 games a season. Good luck, Simon, lad! :-)

  • Michael on August 19, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    Looking at the away fixtures it will be a while before there is a subcontinent game which is a pity for Kerrigan.That said his figures have stacked up from the beginning so I hope he does not get bored in the meantime. anyway it's great news that he is the succession now. A spinner should give the ball a rip-that is what it is about.

  • Stephen on August 19, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Kerrigan deserves the chance, not sure he'll play. I'd like to see Tremlett & Woakes in the 11 though. For all people have a go at Woakes, I've seen him bowling for Warwickshire a fair bit and I think the best comparason bowling-wise is to Matthew Hoggard, who also struggled in limited overs with people taking chances against him, Woakes I've always thought of as more suited to test than limited overs, will swing it enough to trouble top batsmen especially with a dukes ball (not sure he'll be suited/ready to bowl in Aus this winter, but here in England a yes from me) Plus he's a better bat by a margin than Broad and Bresnan and has potential to bat no.7 possibly (he say tentativly) No.6 in the future for England.