Simon Kerrigan is set to return to the England fold, six months after his ill-fated Test debut in the Ashes last year.
The 25-year-old left-arm spinner has been called up for the second Test against India, starting at Lord’s on Thursday.
Kerrigan has earned a well-deserved second chance, having featured just once for the Three Lions in the past in last summer’s final Ashes Test.
His performances so far for Lancashire in the County Championship suggested he was ready to make his comeback, but after receiving the call from England head coach Peter Moores, he appeared to struggle against Nottinghamshire. Kerrigan’s body language has been under scrutiny, amid accusations that he lacks belief.
That has led former skipper Michael Vaughan to “fear” for the impact a recall could have on the bowler’s career.
“England have thrown him back into international cricket far too soon”, the 2005 Ashes-winner told Radio 5 Live Sport.
Kerrigan’s woes against Notts could be a sign that the pressure is getting to him ahead of his return, particularly due to the excess spotlight currently placed on spinners who are brought into the team.
England are still searching for a consistent replacement for Graeme Swann, who quit cricket part way through the winter Ashes, once the series was already lost.
Moeen Ali has filled that void of late, and took four wickets in the draw against India in the first Test. Ali is also competent with the bat, which makes him a strong contender, while Kent’s James Tredwell is performing well with bat and ball, especially in the Natwest T20 Blast.
It is clear, nonetheless, that England are refusing to write Kerrigan off on account of his debut. Indeed, such a policy has worked out well regarding Gary Ballance. The Yorkshire batsman was similarly maligned after failing to make an impact in his Test debut against Australia in the last match Down Under, but has since gone on to establish himself as a key part of the set up.
In Kerrigan’s favour, is that England as a whole are in a far better position this time round. No longer will he face the likes of Shane Watson, at the hands of whom he endured a torrid time last year. Though the first Test was India’s to lose, England must be admired for keeping themselves in the game, largely thanks to the efforts of Joe Root and James Anderson’s record-breaking tenth-wicket stand.
England may genuinely be on the verge of turning a corner, and if Kerrigan is not rushed into the action, he can surely play an important part in the rest of the series.
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