England v Sri Lanka: Head coach Peter Moores steps up hunt for frontline spinner
Last Updated: 18/06/14 11:02am
Head coach Peter Moores has conceded that England lack a frontline spinner and has now made it a priority to establish Graeme Swann’s long-term successor.
Swann retired from international cricket during a sensational failing at the winter Ashes series in Australia, and his influence was clearly lacking as England drew with Sri Lanka in the opening summer Test at Lord’s.
All-rounder Moeen Ali, predominately a batsman, and fellow part-time off-spinner Joe Root were the spin options aside from a four-seam attack, but Simon Kerrigan and youngster Adam Riley have put themselves in the frame with superb performances at county level.
Experienced left-arm spinner Monty Panesar is also a candidate but has been recently punished by Essex for disciplinary issues that will do his prospects of England selection no favours whatsoever.
But Moores said: "We are going to have to identify our next spinner, there's no doubt about that.
"All sides need the option of a frontline spinner. One or a couple are going to have to play for us otherwise it is going to be a weakness in our ranks that people will be able to try to exploit.
"Kerrigan, statistically, has been the most prolific in first-class cricket. If you take that as one of the gauges then that puts him in the frame, and obviously Adam Riley has also come on the scene.
“Monty is the most experienced Test match spinner out there for us but through other issues he has made it very difficult to look at him as an option at the moment. The key is to put himself up for selection like anyone else. Monty has got to do that."
"I think Moeen Ali has the chance at the moment. He is getting better quite quickly but is going to have to adjust to take wickets as a Test match bowler."
Moores, meanwhile, continued his defence of captain Alastair Cook, who has now gone 22 Test innings since his last century.
"I don't think being captain has affected his run-scoring," Moores insisted.
"He would love to have got a score against Sri Lanka but I thought he captained well, and we are talking about a player here who is England's most successful centurion.
"You will go through periods of form and he is working towards that. He is desperately keen, like everyone in that side, to get a score."
England take on Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday, live on Sky Sports 2 from 10.30am.