Lancashire spinner Simon Kerrigan’s possible recall for the second Test against India has provoked a real fuss, with fears that another flaying could end his international career.
Clearly nerves got to Kerrigan when he made his England debut against Australia at the Oval last summer. He conceded 28 runs off his first two overs alone and looked well out of his depth.
India’s batsmen are far from novices at playing slow bowlers and Lord’s is not known for aiding finger-spin, so it could be a difficult occasion for him, and yes, it may well kill his Test prospects.
But, saying that, Kerrigan has either got the temperament for this level or he hasn’t – and there is only one way to find out.
Long-term, Kent’s young offspinner Adam Riley may prove to be the man to succeed Graeme Swann as England’s frontline twirler. He has kept James Tredwell out of the side at club level and is someone generating a bit of positive chatter on the county circuit.
Right now, though, Kerrigan is probably the best left-arm spinner England can pick. He is next in the pecking order, he is not exactly a newcomer, and he has to be tried again at some point.
This time round he should also benefit from the fact that his mentor at Lancashire for the last four years, Peter Moores, is now England coach. This is where Moores’s man-management should come to the fore.
I personally think Kerrigan will do fine. But either way, he is the right man to be tried at this time, and if he can’t do it for England under Moores then he probably never will.
England can take some encouragement from the drawn first Test. Captain Alastair Cook made some innovative decisions but his urgent problem remains batting, and, to be blunt, this bloke has to get some runs very soon.
I still think it’s a series England should win. India’s bowlers aren’t the strongest and, when push comes to shove, Cook’s should be able to make their supremacy pay.
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