Sport

Lancashire bowler Simon Kerrigan plans to use 2012 performances as platform for greater success

By Ross McLean

Lancashire’s Simon Kerrigan insists he is focused on developing as a bowler despite establishing himself as the county’s premier spinner in 2012.

During a disappointing season which saw Lancashire relegated from the LV= County Championship Division One, Kerrigan was a shining light for the Red Rose.

The Preston-born spinner got the nod over Gary Keedy, who has since joined Surrey, and finished the season with 44 wickets – bettered only by two slow bowlers in the top-flight.

Although disappointed by his team’s struggles, Kerrigan – holder of Lancashire’s best bowling figures since 1953 – is able to reflect positively on his own contribution.

“I had tended to play as a second spinner, so you play on more helpful pitches, but this year has been a real big learner for me – playing on not just the spinning pitches, but flat ones,” he told www.ecb.co.uk.

“You’ve got to try and go at less than three-an-over, build pressure and get your wickets a different way.

“I’ve only really learned that towards the back end of this year. I’ve not had to come into games with that before.

“I would have liked to have got a few more wickets and get the average down a little bit, but it was my first full season in the first team in the championship and I was pretty happy. It’s something to build on.”

Kerrigan has been named in the England Performance Programme for a second successive winter and will travel to India later this month for extensive training in Pune and Mumbai.

This follows the 23-year-old tasting international success during the course of last season with a memorable display for England Lions taking 6-59 in the drawn fixture against Australia A on his home turf back in August.

He said: “It was a really proud moment for me, to be making my four-day Lions debut at Old Trafford, and it was lucky for me that it went the way it did.

“I just wish I had put in a few more of those performances for Lancashire this season.”

Kerrigan is also of the opinion that Lancashire need to forget about the last two years and the disappointment of relegation and focus on the future.

“It’s been a tough season for everyone involved,” said Kerrigan. “We didn’t perform as well as we would have liked.

“There’s nothing we can really do about the situation now. We’ve got to forget about the past two years and build again now, and try to get ourselves back in the first division.”

Meanwhile, Lancashire have bolstered their bowling resources by signing experienced seamer Kabir Ali on a two-year deal on Friday.

The former England quick provides the Red Rose with a timely bowling boost as they seek an immediate return to Division One of the County Championship.

He effectively replaces ex-Yorkshire quick Ajmal Shahzad, who recently joined Nottinghamshire after his loan spell at Old Trafford ended.

Ali – whose career best figures of 8-50 came against his new club in 2007 – said: “Lancashire has an exciting and emerging squad and I am looking forward to playing my part in the challenges ahead.”

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