Could Simon Kerrigan be England’s Version of Rangana Herath?

Simon Kerrigan would be the perfect foil to a pacey seam attack, akin to Rangana Herath of Sri Lanka.

For many cricket fans, but particularly Australians; Simon Kerrigan’s debut will be remembered as a public humiliation.

Like that awful dream you have when you turn up at school and you have arrived in your pyjamas; it was a day he will never want to remember.

In eight abysmal overs, Kerrigan was smashed for 53 runs, consisting almost exclusively of full tosses, beamers, long hops and slow dragged down deliveries. He was not bowled in the second innings. Perhaps nerves got to him, who knows.

But, his county record is strong, and a good bowler dosn’t become a bad bowler over night.

At just 25 years old, he had a strong tour with the England lions, picking up  more wickets than the other two spin options combined, with 11 wickets on the tour. This included a vital 4-86 in the third unofficial Test versus Sri Lanka A.

The reason he was picked on the Lions tour in the first place, is because he had performed domestically for some time.

He took 30 wickets in 13 first-class games during his first season in 2010, and a successful 2013 season in which he took 57 scalps at an average of just over 20 was what really put him in contention for England in the first place.

Overall, in a mere 64 first class games, the 25 year old has 204 wickets at a solid average of 27.75. This is far superior to his contemporary; Monty Panesar; who has 677 wickets at an average of 30.97.

There is a clear case for him to be England spinner, and there is also a vacancy in the England side for a genuine spinner.

The average fan may put two and two together.

 

How does he get back in though? Everyone will get at him for his debut of course. The key to getting back into this England side is appealing to selectors to fulfil a certain role.

Liam Plunkett bulked up and started to bowl quickly, and was picked as an enforcer.

Chris Jordan in ODI cricket has showed the ability to bowl fast and bat usefully in the lower order.

Moeen Ali has shown versatility with bat and ball.

In other words, those that have been called up have displayed an ability to do a specific role. He must do the same; and appeal to the selectors to do a job.

He is not a mystery spinner like Saeed Ajmal or Muttiah Muralitharan. He is bowler that many will consider as innocuous, with a short run and a whippy action; he is a typically English spinner. A defensive spinner.

One such bowler that can be a great role model for him though is Rangana Herath; the stocky Sri Lankan left arm spinner. In the post Murali age, Sri Lankan spinners were associated with mystery and magic.

Herath came on the scene with a seemingly very simple philosophy; bowl tight, build pressure, reap rewards; and the critics will be silent.

Since 2010, only Stuart Broad, Dale Steyn, Graeme Swann and James Anderson have more wickets than little Herath in Test cricket according to ESPN Cricinfo, so it is clearly a philosophy that has been well employed.

People give him respect because he has dragged back orthodoxy as an effective weapon.

After plugging away in the county championship; Kerrigan must have learned to identify with this also. He is of course not going to step into international cricket with the same experience as a bowler like Herath, but the principle is there.

England should trust the systems in place that brings through talent, such as the county championship. This is the best spinner in England and it would be a shame for him to slip through the net because of a bad Test debut.

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