Shropshire CCC have completed the signing of the former Lancashire and England left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan.
The 30-year-old, who left Lancashire at the end of the 2018 season, will bring a wealth of experience to the county.
Kerrigan has played more than 100 first-class matches, taking 322 wickets, while he has also appeared in 35 List A matches and 24 Twenty20 matches.
His career-best figures of 9-51 came against Hampshire in the penultimate game of the 2011 season, which ended with Lancashire crowned county champions.
The consistent performances of Preston-born Kerrigan led to him being called up by England to play in the final match of the 2013 Ashes against Australia at The Oval.
Kerrigan, who had a spell on loan to Northamptonshire in 2017, joins Shropshire following a successful season with Fulwood and Broughton CC in the Northern Premier Cricket League.
He took 67 league wickets at 9.03 apiece while he also contributed just under 400 league runs with the bat, scoring two centuries, one in the league, the other in a cup match.
Now he’s looking forward to the next stage of his career with Shropshire: “Since I left Lancashire, Minor Counties has definitely been something that’s interested me,” said Kerrigan. “It’s still an opportunity to play at a good standard of cricket and get a lot of overs in, compared to just playing club cricket at the weekend.”
He revealed that Karl Krikken, Shropshire’s former director of cricket and a man he has known for a long time, played a part in him joining the county: “He put me in touch with the club,” he said. “We quickly got things done and dusted and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Kerrigan, who also represented England Lions earlier in his career, added: “I’m looking forward to working with the lads. There’s quite a few training sessions over the winter, so I’m going to make as many of them as I can, get to know the lads and them get to know me. Hopefully we can build towards something in the summer and be successful.”
He’s keen to pass on his experience to the younger members of the Shropshire squad: “I’m a bit of a cricket badger,” he insisted. “I’m really keen to keep advancing my coaching. I’ve got my Level 3 coaching badge and in my last year at Lancashire I did a lot of coaching with the Lancashire second team and the Lancashire age groups. Even in the years before that, I worked a lot with the young spinners coming through.
“It’s something definitely I’m keen to get stuck into, playing and whether you would call it a coach or a mentor role, I think I’ve got quite a lot of experience in the first-class game, so I’ve got some things that I can pass on to the younger lads.”
While he’s renowned for his bowling, Kerrigan is also looking to weigh in with the bat for Shropshire: “I played a couple of games for Northamptonshire’s second team last year and in one of them I got 81 batting at six,” he said. “I’ll be hoping I can fit in somewhere around a similar position for Shropshire and hopefully I can get some runs.
“I’m not really known for my runs, but I do feel in recent years, especially towards the back end of my time with Lancashire and when I went on loan to Northants to play some County Championship cricket, I started to contribute more and more regularly with the bat.”
As for his hopes moving forward with Shropshire, Kerrigan added: “It seems that it was a bit of a tough year last season. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and get the performances on the pitch going the way that everyone wants them to. Hopefully I can be part of turning things around and be part of a successful side.”
Shropshire are delighted to have recruited Kerrigan as they put plans in place for the new season in the newly-named National Counties Cricket Association.
Shropshire secretary Richard Lees said: “We are very pleased that we will have Simon’s services for all formats of the game during the coming season.
“Simon has a great pedigree as a left-arm spin bowler and is a very capable batsman as well. He will also be involved on the coaching side.”
Vice-chairman John Hulme added: “Simon’s figures over the last two seasons, added to his impressive first-class record, show him to be an excellent all-rounder.
“He has scored more than 1,800 runs and taken over 90 wickets in club cricket in the last two years, while he also comes highly recommended by a number of people in the first-class game.
“We are delighted to have him on board and he will have an important role to play in taking the club forward next season.”