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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 sets his sights on trying to force his way into contention for the fifth and final Investec 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 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 LV= County Championship Division Two this season with 47 scalps at an average of 20.23 but, while the 24-year-old is thrilled to have caught the attention of the selectors, he admits the England summons came out of the blue.

"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 said.

"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, already an England Lion, is hoping to partner first-choice slow bowler Graeme Swann, who has taken 23 series wickets.

"Hopefully I can impress over the next couple of days and be ready if they choose two spinners," Kerrigan added.

Lancashire cricket director Mike Watkinson, a former England spinner, said: "It is a great reward for the progress Simon has made over the last few years with us.

"It is a great opportunity. Every time you take to the field with a county like us, you put yourself in the shop window. It's good that our players are being recognised in the way that they are.

"Simon's still improving. He's still young and working out the right way to bowl at various stages in the game, what tactical role he's got at a certain stage in the match. But he's getting people out, and good ones. That's very promising."

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."

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