Moores hopes for Kerrigan support
Peter Moores, the Lancashire coach, has backed Simon Kerrigan to bounce back from the chastening start to his Test career and has pleaded for the bowler to be given support to do so.
Kerrigan endured a horrid first day in England colours. Confronted with a wicket offering him little and Shane Watson in top form, he looked paralysed by nerves and struggled with his control. His first two overs cost 28 and subsequent spells contained several long-hops and a head-high full toss. He did not bowl on the second day.
But Moores, who has coached Kerrigan in county cricket for the bowler's entire first-class career, is insistent that the left-arm spinner is a much better bowler than he showed at The Oval on Wednesday and suggested he will demonstrate that if given the opportunity.
"The shame is that a lot of people will not have seen Simon bowl before and they may judge him on that performance," Moores told ESPNcricinfo. "He has bowled really well, on all surfaces, for us over the last few years. He has dismissed some top batsmen. He must have bowled very well in the lead-up to the game, too, to convince Andy Flower and co. to select him.
"I absolutely believe he has the strength of character to bounce back from this. He has proven that time and again at every level. He had to fight to win a first team place ahead of Gary Keedy at Lancashire and he had to fight to win a Lions place.
"He just needs to relax and have some support. Confidence is everything for a sportsman. It is the petrol in their engine. And, on the first day of the Test, Simon was just a little bit careful with the way he bowled.
"At his best, he is looking to bowl with pace and he has been brilliant at times. But it is all about feel and confidence and, against a good side and on a very good batting pitch, he was just a bit careful.
"He has always tended to walk up to the crease and then explode into his action, a bit like Shane Warne. But the way he bowled reflected that he felt under a bit of pressure and that, on a fresh pitch, the circumstances couldn't get much tougher.
"But he has a chance to learn from that. The great thing about being a bowler is that he will probably have another chance over the next few days to show what he can do and I know he can steel himself to come back strong."
Moores, who was England coach in 2007 and 2008, also suggested that Kerrigan's elevation to the England side had come a little earlier than anticipated and that he would continue to improve.
"Most people do have to play a few games to feel comfortable in that environment," Moores said. "Spin bowling is a complex skill and Simon is only 24. Spinners often mature a bit later as they learn not just the skills required, but when to apply them.
"There is no doubt that the Monty Panesar situation affected selection and we did not expect the opportunity for Simon to come so soon. But he is a fine young bowler and I know he will learn from this experience and it will make him stronger."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo