Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire spinner who endured a nightmare England debut during the summer's fifth Ashes Test, has been withdrawn from the Performance Programme tour of Australia in order to work on his bowling at home. Although he will officially remain part of the EPP squad, Kerrigan will undertake a programme of development drawn up by Peter Such, the ECB's spin coach.
Kerrigan was due to leave for Australia on November 14 as part of the 14-man group but will now train under the guidance of Lancashire's coaches at Old Trafford. He had been in contention to be Graeme Swann's understudy in England's Ashes squad but, after recording figures of 0 for 53 from eight overs at The Oval, he lost out to fellow left-armer Monty Panesar.
It is not thought that Kerrigan requires any remodelling of his action, which appeared to deteriorate under pressure against Australia. The decision was taken in agreement between Kerrigan, Lancashire and the ECB in order to give him a break after successive off-seasons of touring and he is expected to be involved again when the Lions travel to Sri Lanka early next year.
"Simon undertook both tour programmes with the EPP and England Lions last winter and after further discussions with both Simon and Lancashire, it has been decided that his career development will be best served by remaining in the UK in the pre-Christmas period," the ECB's performance director, David Parsons, said. "He will remain part of the EPP and will continue to be considered for selection for the England Lions tour of Sri Lanka in the New Year."
Despite his struggles on England debut, when Shane Watson in particular feasted on a succession of long hops and full tosses, Kerrigan remained the most successful spinner in county cricket last season, taking 57 wickets in Lancashire's Division Two-winning campaign. He has taken 165 first-class wickets at 26.12 for Lancashire, as well as performing creditably for the Lions, and at 24 is still considered one of England's best spin prospects for the future.
Speaking a few weeks after the event, Kerrigan said the experience would make him stronger and suggested his bowling remained something of a work in progress. "I wouldn't say it was just nerves. Technically, it didn't click," he said. "That's what happens with young spinners. I'm 24, still learning my action and still learning the game."
The Performance Programme players, who will effectively provide back-up for England's Ashes party, are due to spend the first two weeks of their month-long tour in Brisbane at Cricket Australia's centre of excellence, before heading to Perth.