There is really only one winner of the Cricket World County Player of the Week this week. Simon Kerrigan returned season-best figures of nine for 51 to bowl Lancashire to victory against Hampshire and keep them in the Championship title race on the final day at The Rose Bowl. He preceded this with three wickets in the first innings to give him career-best match figures of 12 for 192.
It is the second time this year that he has bowled his side to victory following his haul of five for seven against Warwickshire in May. Overall, despite only playing four maches in 2011, he has taken 22 wickets at an average of 14 and the fact that he has been kept out of Lancashire's side has more to with Gary Keedy's excellence than any shortcomings on his part. His appearances in the limited overs sides have been slightly more frequent although he has not enjoyed quite as much success as in the four-day side.
He is a product of Lancashire's strong youth and league system that has produced so many fine players in its time and began his top flight playing career at the age of 16 playing for club side Fulwood and Broughton in the Cockspur Cup. From there he progressed to debuting for Lancashire's Under-17, Under-19 and Second Eleven sides within two years, before moving to Liverpool and District Premier League side Ormskirk in 2008 in a bid to play regular higher level club cricket. He continued his apprenticeship there, as well as in the county Second Eleven, prior to making his first team debut at the beginning of the 2010 season due to a pre-season injury for first-choice spinner Gary Keedy. He impressed almost immediately and ended the season with 30 wickets from 13 matches as he formed a potent spin partnership with the returning Keedy.
The England selectors have obviously been watching his progress so far and he was rewarded with a call-up to the Lions side that played against Sri Lanka A in the one-day series. He took three wickets in the last match and, if he continues to improve - especially his batting and fielding - he could become a viable successor to Graeme Swann when he retires.
Other contenders for this weeks' award included Joe Denly who made 199 and 68 in Kent's defeat to Derbyshire; Joe Gatting who hit an unbeaten 116 and 70 at New Road; Ryan Sidebottom who took 11 wickets to help keep Yorkshire's slim hopes of avoiding relegation alive; and David Payne who returned career-best figures of six for 26 against Leicestershire.
© Cricket World 2011