LONDON – Simon Kerrigan has insisted England will have a better bowler on their hands than the one who suffered a nightmare debut against Australia last year should he be selected for Thursday's second Test with India at Lord's.
The Lancashire left-arm spinner was called into a 14-man England squad following the drawn first Test of a five-match series at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground on Sunday. Kerrigan, 25, made his Test debut during the drawn final Test of England's 3-0 home Ashes series win at The Oval last year.
However, his eight wicketless overs in Australia's first innings cost an expensive 53 runs and England captain Alastair Cook did not risk him in the second innings. Kerrigan has not played for England since but is confident he won't suffer similar stage fright if called upon to face India, whose batsmen are renowned for the generally expert way they play spin bowling.
"Over the winter I learned more about my action and about the mental side of the game," he told reporters after the first day of Lancashire's County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire at Liverpool on Sunday. "As a professional cricketer you're always learning. I learned from last year's Test that the sun will come up the day after that and that it's not the end of the world.
"What happened is in your thoughts a little bit, but I know my job is to bowl spin and I bowl it every day so it's no different. "I have to learn from every experience I get and keep progressing. "I keep striving for perfection and keep working towards my goal, which is to get into the England side and to bowl well for England."
Kerrigan, who worked under England coach Peter Moores when the latter was in charge of Lancashire, was bowling in the nets at Trent Bridge. "The week with England has definitely helped," he said. "I know a lot of the lads from previous trips and familiar faces help. "Hopefully I get a chance to show off my skills, what I do in county cricket, on the big stage."
Following the retirement of Graeme Swann, England have entrusted spin-bowling duties so far this home season against Sri Lanka and India to part-time off-break bowler Moeen Ali -- primarily a batsman. As well as being a specialist spinner, Kerrigan offers England another option in that as a left-arm finger-spinner his stock delivery turns away, rather than towards, a right-handed batsman.
"There's not been a frontline spinner picked in the Tests so far, so you'd be lying a little bit if you said you weren't looking at that as a goal," said Kerrigan. "If you do well against Indian batsmen you can do well against anyone, really."