Most people’s knowledge of Simon Kerrigan’s bowling amounts to eight overs on his debut. That’s not a huge amount to go off and those overs too in circumstances that can be considered exceptional and therefore perhaps not properly representative of his ability. On the other hand, he still has to get past that.
Test cricket can be like a bike race that starts with a steep hill. You can have a five grand time trial bike and one of those ridiculous sperm-shaped helmets, but unless you’ve got low enough gears to start off in, you’ll never get moving in the first place. Some kid on a mountain bike will spin past you and make you look like a fool. Mountain bike kid might only do 10mph and be disqualified for getting in people’s way, but at least he got going.
If we were Simon Kerrigan, we’d want to be damn certain we had it in us to survive in Test cricket right now this minute. He is 25, he will get another chance – but he is unlikely to get two. Would you want your final chance at Test cricket to come not long after your first when you’re only 80 per cent certain you’ve overcome what went wrong first time around, or would you rather wait until some point in the future when you’re positively insulted that you’ve not yet been selected because you know – just know – that you’re the best spinner going?
We suppose that later chance might never come. Hopefully that rear sprocket’s large enough.
How much does the ability to handle debut nerves have an impact on whether or not a player might one day thrive in Test cricket? Answer that question and you go a long way towards deciding how much attention to pay to the performances of Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan.
We’d say that in general a debut shouldn’t be considered representative of a player’s ability. That said, it is something that needs to be overcome. Concede ten an over and you won’t be getting a second Test without first making a very compelling case in some other form of cricket.
Every player is different. Some arrive in Test cricket fully formed, secure in their abilities; others build confidence over time. The former are preferable in many respects, but frequently the latter surpass them once they’ve found their feet. You invest in players and with the potential for poor returns in the short-term, it’s important to be certain you’re investing correctly for the long-term.
One thing we’d say is that Shane Watson was struggling up until he came up against the debutants and afterwards, he wasn’t struggling any longer. That’s quite important when you look at what’s going on in this Test. Woakes and Kerrigan have a debt. Will they get a chance to work it off.
Right, let’s get this over with.
First, let’s restate the qualification criteria:
- Qualified to play for England
- No established internationals
- Playing in the first division of the County Championship
Think that’s it. There might be other things. Who knows? Presumably us, but we don’t like to scrutinise the workings of our own mind in case we damage it. We reserve the right to apply further criteria later on if we feel like it. Continue reading