'Kerrigan plays for the big occasion'

England

Former England spinner Mike Watkinson has acknowledged the uncapped Simon Kerrigan's selection for the fifth Ashes Test squad is a stepping stone for later this year.

Former England spinner Mike Watkinson has acknowledged the uncapped Simon Kerrigan's selection for the fifth Ashes Test squad is a stepping stone for later this year.

Left-armer Kerrigan has graduated to the international fold on the back of an outstanding 2013 County Championship Division Two campaign, clinching 47 wickets in 10 matches at the impressive average of 20.23.

"A good spin bowler is a valuable asset. Simon has come through our system. He has learned his trade, he has got a great attitude and he has had a great impact on our side," Lancashire director of cricket Watkinson, who played four Tests between 1995 and 1996, told the <i>BBC</i>.

"He is a much more balanced bowler now – he has attacking qualities and he can also sit in there and wait for mistakes from batsmen. In Test cricket, you've got to be able to do that."

While the 24-year-old Kerrigan has been named in the 14-man squad ahead of fellow slow bowler Monty Panesar, who was recently fined for urinating on a security guard in Brighton, his participation in the playing XI remains in the balance.

"Very often, the squad for the last Test in the domestic season results in selections for the winter tours. He plays for the big occasion. He is confident and he backs his own ability. He has put himself in a great position to be on the plane to Australia for the return series," added Watkinson.

England sport an unassailable three-nil lead in the five-fixture affair on the back of a 14-run win at Trent Bridge, 347-run victory at Lord's, rain-affected draw at Old Trafford and 74-run triumph at Chester-le-Street. The fifth – and final – Test will get underway at The Oval in London on Wednesday.

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