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Kerrigan soaks up 'surreal' feeling

Andrew McGlashan
August 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Simon Kerrigan will have a chance to impress the England captain and coach © PA Photos
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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 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

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