Eye on England
After experiencing a taste of what life as an England cricketer is like in the winter, Lancashire spinner Simon Kerrigan tells skysports.com he is hungrier than ever to represent his country
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 04/04/13 5:31pm
At just 23-years-old, Lancashire left-arm spin bowler Simon Kerrigan is already being touted as England Test match material.
It's safe to say the left-armer is firmly on England's radar, too, having spent an action-packed 'off-season' with three different national set-ups.
After pitting his wits against the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in Dubai during a three-day training camp prior to the India series, Kerrigan also honed his skills in Australia and India with the England Lions and Emerging Performance squad respectively.
A seemingly never-ending winter has rolled into the English domestic season, where Kerrigan is likely to have a major say in whether or not Lancashire make an instant return to Division One of the LV= County Championship.
"I've been pretty busy, but it's been really good," he told skysports.com of his winter schedule. "The three days I had in Dubai bowling at the England squad before they went to India was a great opportunity to show the coaching staff what I can do. I imagine the England lads got good practice out of it as well.
"I have been with the England Lions for a couple of years now. We were out in Australia and although we had a stinking tour results-wise - losing all seven games - for me personally it was a really good learning experience and a really good environment to play in."
Kerrigan finished as Lancashire's leading first-class wicket-taker in 2012 and was one of very few shining lights for the Red Rose county, who became the first side to be relegated a year after winning the title.
The onus will once again be on the slow left-armer to spin Lancashire to victories back at their Old Trafford home, especially now veteran Gary Keedy has ended his 18-year association with the county to join Surrey.
And Kerrigan admits: "It's a big season for me. There is potential for me to play more one-day cricket on top of the four-day cricket with Keeds (Gary Keedy) moving to Surrey. There could be some great opportunities, but first of all I need to get into those sides, do well, and the rest should take care of itself.
"I enjoy the four-day format - I see myself primarily as a four-day spin bowler. I learnt a lot last season, my first full season in the Championship squad. I didn't start too well but towards the last four/five games of the season I bowled really well. I now want to take the consistency I had from the last four games last season into this season and hopefully the stats will add up."
Lancashire spent the last two contrasting seasons playing at out-grounds while their Old Trafford home undertook major redevelopment.
And Kerrigan is relishing the opportunity of playing a large part of this season at a ground which has aided spin bowlers over the years."
"We played a couple of games here last season and against Worcester it turned a lot! I doubt every pitch will be like that though. There is always assistance at Old Trafford, a bit of spin and bounce and I am privileged to be playing more or less half my games here."
Lancashire have never spent more than a season in Division Two and Kerrigan is keen to maintain that proud record when the county season resumes.
"It's a massive aim for us (to get promoted)," he added. "We're a big county and the history of the club shows we should be playing in Division One and challenging for the title. The hunger is definitely there. We've had both ends of the spectrum of winning and getting relegated. We want to start well, get momentum and build.
"We've got a strong side. Our line-up, with Simon Katich and Ashwell Prince here, our one-day cricket with got high hopes of challenging in all competitions and gaining some silverware."
Sky Sports' live cricket schedule for 2013-14 includes both Ashes series, all England's home Investec Test Series, NatWest Series One-Day Internationals and NatWest International T20 matches against New Zealand and Australia, plus The ICC Champions Trophy.
Sky Sports will also show each county at least three times this summer, with 60 live fixtures from the Yorkshire Bank 40, LV=County Championship and Friends Life t20. In addition, our cameras will be at Essex when they host the England team for their Ashes warm-up match.