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Parry hails Keedy influence

Lancashire spinner Stephen Parry paid tribute to Gary Keedy after rounding off an impressive fortnight with a match-winning performance against his mentor.

Despite establishing himself as a mainstay of the limited-overs side at Emirates Old Trafford in recent seasons, the presence of Keedy and, more recently, Simon Kerrigan, severely restricted Parry's opportunities in the longer format.

Kerrigan's latest England Lions call-up combined with Keedy's summer move to Surrey cleared the way for the 27-year-old to play his first LV= County Championship match in more than three and a half years when Essex travelled to Manchester two weeks ago.

Stephen ParryParry did not disappoint, bowling with impressive and stifling control before his team-mates blasted their way to victory in a thrilling final-day run-chase.

Buoyed by this long-awaited recall, he lined up on the opposite side to Keedy for the first time in Sunday's Yorkshire Bank 40 clash and turned in the kind of decisive performance his slow-left-arm predecessor made a habit of during 18 seasons with the Red Rose.

In fact, Parry's return of 5-17 as Surrey fell eight runs short in their pursuit of 177 stands as the joint-second best limited-overs return in Lancashire's history - on a par with Jack Simmons' haul against Worcestershire in 1982 and behind David Hughes' 6-29 versus Somerset five years earlier.

"I didn't know that but obviously it's good to get in the record books; you're there for ever then," Parry told ecb.co.uk, after also scoring a vital unbeaten 23 from 25 deliveries down the order. "More importantly for me, when you play well and win it's a much better feeling.

"If that had have happened and we'd lost then it doesn't mean as much. When you get a win against a good side like Surrey and have an impact then you have to be happy."

Perhaps the feat was even sweeter with Keedy in opposition, having earlier followed a standing ovation by dismissing Wayne White with his first ball of the match, but Parry does not see it that way.

"To me it was a bit strange seeing Keeds there because he was normally my spin partner in one-day cricket," he explained. "Now it's looking like it's going to be Simon's role to do that.

"We said hello to each other. I've got a lot of time for Gaz; he's a super fella and I do owe him a lot.

"Over the years he's always put me under his arm, always been open for me to ask questions and always tried to help me.

"As I got older we bounced off each other and once I started to learn a bit about it (spin bowling) and have my views on it we helped each other out. We worked really well together."

Indeed, Parry believes himself and fellow left-armer Kerrigan are evidence of Lancashire reaping the benefits of Keedy's long service.

He said: "Kegs is another great bowler but if it wasn't for Gaz been there to start with… he set the benchmark, a proper standard of how things need to be at that level.

"Me and Kegsy will both say it; if we didn't have Gaz about when we were just coming on the staff then I don't think we'd be the bowlers we are today.

"That competition is healthy. You've always got to try and get better to get a game. I can quite confidently say that the spin at our club is either as good as or stronger than any county in the country."

Parry feels his performances this month vindicate his decision to remain at Lancashire when first-class opportunities dried up and is relishing the prospect of playing a further part in the bid for an instant return to Division One.

He concedes to pondering his next move long and hard but cites continued improvement under the watchful eye of head coach Peter Moores as a key factor in remaining with the club that has nurtured him since his school days in Audenshaw.

"I've had loads of discussions over the years," Parry added. "I was supposed to be maybe moving on, asking to move on but, obviously, with your home club and all that, it's difficult.

"What was important was I still felt like I was getting better even though I was getting frustrated at not playing, if that makes sense. If I'd felt like I wasn't getting better then I might have had to move on.

"I've got probably one of the best cricket coaches in the world and all the facilities there to get better, even if I wasn't playing. Then when I did manage to play I was ready, which shows it is working out."