Ashes 2013: Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan backed for tour spot

Simon Kerrigan

Spinner Simon Kerrigan is "in a great position" to be selected for England's tour of Australia, says Lancashire's director of cricket Mike Watkinson.

Kerrigan has taken 47 Championship wickets for the Red Rose this summer.

And the 24-year-old has been rewarded for his fine form with a

"Very often, the squad for the last Test in the domestic season results in selections for the winter tours," Watkinson told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"He plays for the big occasion. He's confident and he backs his own ability. He's put himself in a great position to be on the plane to Australia."

Left-armer Kerrigan was selected ahead of Monty Panesar in England's 14-man squad for the match at The Oval, which begins on Wednesday, as

With Panesar's future in domestic and international cricket uncertain following and his Kerrigan is a leading contender to travel to Australia for the return Ashes series later this year.

His performances have been one of the main reasons for

"A good spin bowler in county cricket is a valuable asset," added 52-year-old Watkinson, who played four Tests for England in 1995-96.

"He's come through our system and waited patiently behind Gary Keedy for a couple of seasons. He's learned his trade, he's got a great attitude and he's had a great impact on our Championship side.

"He's 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."

Kerrigan revealed he had benefitted greatly from the experience of playing in Australia for England Lions last winter.

"Apart from losing [the one-day series] 7-0, it was a decent trip," said the Preston-born spinner.

"It was a good experience for me and there was a lot of responsibility to perform well because I was the lone spinner in most of the games."

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