Kerrigan targeting 'flying start' as Northamptonshire return to top flight

Simon Kerrigan says it is crucial Northamptonshire get their 2022 LV= Insurance County Championship off to a flying start.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 9:17 am
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 9:19 am
Simon Kerrigan in action for Northants
Simon Kerrigan in action for Northants

And if they can do that, then he believes ‘you never know’ what can happen over the six months of the red ball summer.

The 32-year-old is a player that knows exactly what it takes to succeed in the top flight of English cricket, having featured in Lancashire’s title win back in 2011.

And as the new campaign approaches, Kerrigan believes there are parallels that can be drawn between how Northants are being looked at ahead of the opener against Gloucestershire on April 7, and how the Red Rose were rated before they went on to win it.

Simon Kerrigan celebrates winning the County Championship title with Lancashire in 2011

“The lads deserve to be in division one following the promotion in 2019,” said the left-arm spinner.

“We are going to get the chance to compete at that level, and hopefully prove a few people wrong and that we can hold our own in that division.

“The squad we have got, we have strengthened over the winter, and hopefully we can get off to a flying start and compete from the get-go.

“If we can get a few wins on the board then you never know.”

Kerrigan and fellow Northants man Luke Procter were both key men in the Lancashire title success in 2011.

The emerging Kerrigan claimed 24 wickets at 18 apiece from the four matches he played to sit at the head of the bowling averages, while Procter topped the batting charts (40.66) as well as chipping in with some crucial wickets.

Northants are sure to be looked upon as a team that may struggle on their return to division one for the first time in eight years, but Kerrigan is certain he and his team-mates can prove any doubters wrong

“I have played in division one in the past, and you can sort of draw parallels to what happened with us in 2011,” he said. “Although it is a long time ago now!

“Luke Procter would agree with me, that at Lancashire we were hot favourites to be relegated that season, but all of a sudden you get a couple of wins and the momentum shifts a little bit.

“You keep on going, people underestimate you throughout the season, and you never know what can happen.

“But it is important to start well, and hopefully we can come out all guns blazing early on.

“Our main aim with the red ball this year is to get some runs on the board, and not only to secure division one status but to also see where it gets you.

“We have got some quality cricketers and if we can get a bit of confidence into them then they can no doubt be match-winners, that is the key.”

Kerrigan, who signed a new two-year contract with Northants in December, has welcomed a full off-season of preparation, something that has not been possible in the past couple of years for obvious reasons.

“I have really enjoyed the winter,” said the Preston-born bowler.

“Last year was a little bit different because of Covid, so we were furloughed until the new year.

“I also picked up a couple of niggles last summer on my first full season back, and it has been good to have the winter to try and get a bit more fit and a stronger.

“I have had a bit more of a workload in the gym, and also been working on all the things I need to work on cricket-wise.”