Simon Kerrigan signs for Northamptonshire, three years after last professional match
Left-arm spinner was released by Lancashire in 2018
Simon Kerrigan, the left-arm spinner who played one Test for England in 2013, has signed a two-year contract at Northamptonshire, nearly three years since his last professional appearance.
Kerrigan, 31, was released by Lancashire at the end of the 2018 season after going a full year without making a first-team appearance, after which he put his playing career on hold to focus on coaching during a struggle for form.
Regrettably, he is best known for struggling badly on his Test debut against Australia at The Oval, in which he conceded 53 runs from his eight overs in the match. He was not immediately discarded by England, travelling to Sri Lanka with the Lions in the 2013-14 winter and winning a recall to the squad during the India series the following summer.
But his County Championship form tailed off somewhat: having taken 57 wickets at 20.89 in 2013, he averaged 35.36, 32.21 and 37.88 in the next three summers, before falling out of the first team in 2017. He joined Northants on loan for four games at the end of that season, but played club cricket for Fulwood and Broughton primarily as a specialist batsman in 2018 after putting his Lancashire career on hold.
In 2019, he returned to bowling with a bang, taking 62 wickets at 8.48 apiece in the Northern Premier League to top the wicket-taking charts, and has trained regularly with Northants, travelling to Singapore with them on their pre-season tour. He has now signed a two-year deal with the club, which runs until the end of the 2022 season.
"I'm delighted to have signed," Kerrigan said. "I've worked hard over the winter and went on the pre-season tour to Singapore with the club, and felt in a good place pre-Covid to push for a contract. I'm really happy that the club have put their faith in me and offered me a contract for next year.
"It's an exciting time for the club with Sads [John Sadler] and Lids [Chris Liddle] coming in on the coaching staff along with being in Div 1 next year. I hope I can contribute a few five-fors to the cause and be part of some successful campaigns for Northamptonshire."
David Ripley, Northants' head coach, said: "Since Graeme White retired from that side of the game we've been short of red-ball spin… so it's great to have [Rob] Keogh and Kerrigan as a pair of red-ball spinners for Division One."
"Simon and I have kept in touch pretty much since he came on loan in 2017 and he's bowled regularly with the squad too. I think where he is now is a really exciting place: he's a bit more content in himself and his bowling is in a great place technically.
"I'm really excited: I'm pleased for him because he's a cracking lad, a bit of a cricket badger and I'm really pleased we've given him and opportunity and I've just got that feeling it's going to be a good story."
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98