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Kerrigan aims to seize opportunity
Simon Kerrigan admits he initially struggled to digest the "surreal" news that he had been called up by England but has now set his sights on trying to force his way into contention for the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia this week.
The uncapped Lancashire spinner was one of two surprise inclusions - the other being Chris Woakes - in a 14-man squad which was named today ahead of the match at the Kia Oval where England will look to seal a 4-0 series triumph.
Kerrigan is the second leading wicket-taker in the LV= County Championship Division Two after taking 47 scalps at an average of 20.23 this season, but while the 24-year-old is thrilled to have caught the attention of the national selectors, he admits the England summons came out of the blue.
He said: "I found out yesterday when I got a call from (national selector) Geoff Miller. I'm delighted to be selected, but it was a bit hard to take in when he rang.
"It all felt a bit surreal to be honest."
He added: "I've been inundated with good luck (messages) and congratulations. My phone went into a bit of a meltdown this morning, and I'm grateful for all the messages and good wishes."
Kerrigan may have been called up as cover in case England decide to rest number one spinner Graeme Swann after his 23 Ashes wickets to date this summer, but the slow left-armer is determined to push his case whatever the make-up of the team.
"Hopefully I can impress over the next couple of days and be ready if they choose two spinners," he said.
If Kerrigan is selected to make his international debut, his head coach at Lancashire Peter Moores believes the Preston-born bowler will revel in the opportunity.
"He's loved bowling in tough situations, he's really always wanted to take on the best players and I think that's what you need to go to that next level," Moores told Sky Sports News.
"I think he'll love the challenge if he gets the opportunity. It's a fantastic Test match to play in if he does get the chance at the Oval."
On what Kerrigan will offer England in contrast to Swann, Moores added: "He's a left-arm spinner not an off-spinner, so it goes away from the right-hand batsman so that's different in its own right. What he does is he spins it hard, not dissimilar to Graeme Swann in that respect.
"Graeme does give the ball a heck of a rip and gets turn on almost any surface and Simon's similar, he spins the ball very hard, he's an aggressive attacking spinner.
"He will give a different option for Alastair Cook if they play him because the angles you attack from as a left-arm spinner are obviously different to the off-spinner."
Woakes is looking forward to an opportunity which will mark the "pinnacle" of his career so far if he makes the XI.
"I'm thrilled to be named in the squad for the final Ashes Test of the summer," he said.
"Representing your country in any form of the game is a great honour. But Test match cricket, particularly the Ashes, is the pinnacle.
"I was fortunate to be with the team on every day of the fourth Test in Durham, and now being included in the squad is a great opportunity for me to impress - as well as being one that I will relish."