Simon Kerrigan – will they or won’t they?

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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.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. They won’t. It’s like a cabinet re-shuffle, it’s been done merely for PR ahead of a year’s time at the beginning of May when England & Wales will get a new leadership team appointed.

  2. Good points. You’ve got to feel for the lad. But surely he’ll be keen to get back in there. Look at James Foster – he knows he’s the best keeper going, but was picked too young and never got another chance. He was 21 when he played his first Test and 22 when he played his last. That’s mental.

    Graeme Swann is fond of talking about how he was called up to the squad for the final home Test against New Zealand in 1999. He wasn’t picked in the team, England lost and went to the bottom of the world rankings. It’s a fair bet that if he’d been selected and hadn’t set the world alight he would never have played again.

  3. I will be honest, I was bigging up Kerrigan all last summer. Having said that, the limited times I have seen him this year I have been distinctly underwhelmed. I will put my neck out and say that he definitely, definitely isnt over it yet – although this is in a similar way to how I said he was definitely, definitely ready for Test cricket last year.

    England are going to have a full touring party at this rate. Whats that, 15 now if you include Buttler who is constantly on stand by for Matt Priors calf/back/knee/ability?

  4. D’you remember when you were at school and there was some lad who was brilliant at sport? God above he was a cocky, arrogant arsehole, not exactly shy and retiring. He would strut his stuff in front of everyone, and you just stood there with the rubbish kids hoping above anything else that someone punched him.

    All professional sportsmen were this kid. Simon Kerrigan is not some fragile piece of china that has to be bubble wrapped for most of the year and can only be brought out when posh relatives come to visit. What he needs is for people (e.g. Michael Vaughan) to tell him to get stuck in, get on with it, do whatever he can, fail, succeed, win lose, whatever. But all this talk of fragility will make him fragile, turn him into exactly the thing Vaughan et al are worried about. He might be good enough, he might not, that’s not the point. The point is that failure for Kerrigan shouldn’t be the big deal the cricket establishment seems to want to make it.

    English cricket hates self-confidence. All people in charge of English cricket were bullied at school.

  5. Well, unless Buttler rescues them again it looks like Lancs are set for another collapse, so if Kerrigan doesn’t play soon we’ll be into that ‘Second Divsion bowling figures’ debate again…

  6. He’s good at bowling, that’s pretty much all you need. Let the dead bury their dead.

  7. I know it is wrong to compare, but Swann was picked prematurely to tour in 1999 and then vanished from the international scene – indeed only occasionally shone even on the county scene, for 9 years, before he emerged, aged 30, the finished article and one of the best spinners in the world.

    Funny business with spinners. Nothing to do with fragility but Kerrigan should only play if conditions suit and the selectors truly believe that he is ready. He wasn’t yet ready last summer.

  8. The problem I kept hearing about Moeen Ali during the Tests was that he couldn’t exert “control”, i.e, couldn’t be left on at one end to keep the runs down whilst the seam bowlers rotated at the other. Kerrigan’s economy rates in county cricket and one-day games (he doesn’t seem to have played in T20s this season) are no better than Moeen’s so how is he going to solve that problem for England?

    1. Moen took more wickets than Jadeja on what was a dead pitch – I’d rather he took wickets and went for a few at the moment (given we have no outstanding candidate) and have his batting in the side than have Kerrigan in just to go for slightly fewer runs which Moen will make up for by scoring more.

      In a couple of years time Moen will have benefited from the experience enough to be a proper all rounder

    1. Lots of pun for all the family.

      Topical too – current puns galore.

      Puntastic article, Sam.

      Laugh? I almost did.

    2. I didn’t write it, I hope you understand.

      I’m not even convinced it’s him. Doesn’t look much like him.

    3. At least he wasn’t singing “Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe!” That would have thrown serious doubt on his motives for moving.

  9. I don’t care about Kerrigan.

    The question that needs answering is should I take Ashwin out of my fantasy team?

    1. Does the fantasy league update with new additions to the squad? Not that I would pick Kerrigan, but it would be nice to have the option. I can’t imagine anyone’s picking Woakes.

    2. Alea jacta est. He’s toast.

      Note to everyone else : Ashwin will be brought in tomorrow and will take a hatful of wickets as well as scoring lots of runs.

    3. Most of my transfers were making my nurdler a hitter and my hitter a nurdler. Kohli’s got to fire at some point, hasn’t he?

    4. Some of you seem to have found a level of sophistication to the fantasy game which, frankly, I haven’t.

      Perhaps that explains my middling fantasy career so far.

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