Sir Ian Botham does not expect England to pick spinner Simon Kerrigan for the second Test against India, at Lord’s.
Lancashire’s Kerrigan was added to the squad following last week’s draw at Trent Bridge despite a modest return of 28 wickets at 35.57 runs apiece in division one of the County Championship so far this season.
The 25-year-old endured a nightmare Test debut against Australia at The Oval last summer when his eight overs cost 53 runs, a return that convinced skipper Alastair Cook not to bowl his spinner in the second innings.
Botham told Sky Sports News he thinks England will name an unchanged side – injuries permitting – which would mean all-rounder Moeen Ali would remain the team’s primary spin option.
“Spinners have not got a great record on this ground, so I’d be a little surprised if Kerrigan plays – I think England will stay pretty much with the side they’ve got,” said the former all-rounder.
“I don’t see many reasons to change it; if everyone’s fit I think that’s the way they’ll go. It’s the way I would expect them to go.
“They can blood these guys and give them a taste of it but at the end of the day, you don’t play a spinner if he’s not good enough.”
Test newcomer Gary Ballance is one of several England players to express their support for Kerrigan in recent days.
Number three Ballance said the spinner bowled brilliantly in the nets at Trent Bridge and would become a stronger player for his experience at The Oval.
But Botham said England should not be in a hurry to recall Kerrigan and should keep faith in their seam attack of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett, plus all-rounder Ben Stokes – and hope for a pitch with plenty of life in it.
“If a spinner’s good enough, then he’s got a case, but I think England will just be trying to integrate him into the system to see what it feels like," he reflected.
“Kerrigan, when he turned up at the Oval and played, virtually everyone knew very little about him. He came in after Shane Watson had already targeted him in the game before at Northampton.
“He targeted him again there and Australia scored 53 runs off his eight overs. It’s hard to come back from that, so there’s no need to rush the lad.
“England’s strength is in their seam department at the moment. Let’s hope that they get something to help their seamers.”
Watch day one of the second Test between England and India from 10am on Thursday on Sky Sports 2.