January 13, 2012

Mike Holmans

The importance of Tremlett's scare factor

Mike Holmans
Chris Tremlett had recovered from his eye infection, PCB X1 v England, Dubai Day 1, January, 11, 2011
Chris Tremlett has acquired an aura of genuine menace  © Getty Images
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Tim Bresnan's injury is a big problem for England in only one respect: they lose their mascot. Every Test in which Bresnan has played has been an England victory, so whatever talismanic luck he brings will be gone. It's also fair to say that none of his potential replacements offers as much with the bat, but England bat pretty deep even without him.

From the two warm-up games – and how pleasant it is to see England carrying on with playing properly competitive games of cricket in the lead-up, Duncan Fletcher's 14-a-side two-day net affairs being properly consigned to the dustbin – we know that Steven Finn is the fastest, Chris Tremlett the awkward-bounciest, Graham Onions the swingingest and Monty Panesar the spinningest of the candidates and that they are all in pretty good nick. So it's going to be down to the captain and coach to decide what they want, and that will presumably depend a bit on what the pitch looks like.

In the absence of detailed acquaintance with the surface, I shall plump for Tremlett. I am very well aware that there are strong cases for Finn and Panesar, but I think Onions is a couple of yards behind them in the queue.

As a bowler, Tremlett is the most likely of the England bowlers to produce the nasty bouncer – the one that rears up from a fairly full length into the ribcage. And the best thing about it is that he doesn't do it all that often: somewhat unusually for a very tall bowler, he spends most of his time threatening the stumps rather than send the ball whistling spectacularly but generally harmlessly past the batsman's head. He knows the value of making the batsman play.

However, I think his greatest quality now is his scariness.

It was not always thus. When he first played for England against India in 2007, it wasn't that he didn't bowl decently but that he didn't look as though he believed he ought to be there. He seemed like the fellow who was surprised to get an invitation to an exclusive party and then spends his time doing his best to look inconspicuous. There was nothing about him which made a batsman quake.

The most obvious change in him when he returned to the colours on last winter's Ashes tour was that he had acquired an aura of genuine menace. There is nothing shy about this big, quiet man: he is obviously quite composed, a serious man going about serious business. As he patrols his part of the field, he has the air of someone for whom crowds instinctively part because it does not look at all wise to get in his way. Tremlett does not have Curtly Ambrose's glare, but there is much else which is very similar in his demeanour.

I sometimes thought he was an escapee from a mafia movie, in which he would be accompanying Don Strosso as the godfather politely informed someone that it would be appreciated if they would settle their debt otherwise Tremmo here would be paying them a visit, an outcome which would be most regrettable. [Cut to close-up on face of debtor as all the colour drains out.]

This is not a case of “working on his body language”, as the saying goes. Body language is simply a physical expression of a mental state: of course one can act for a time, but no-one can keep up an act for a whole day in the field. His demeanour is simply evidence that he is now completely comfortable with being a top-class pace bowler.

If he gets the nod, he will no doubt be determined to do well enough to make himself the incumbent who won't be dislodged. I'm betting that he can do it.

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Posted by Heiko on (July 31, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

I'm out of lgaeue here. Too much brain power on display!

Posted by cav davidson on (January 20, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

this piece now looks pretty silly doesn't it? Tremlett scary? you must be joking. He has all the physical attributes of course, but absolutely none of the mental requirements for being a fast bowler. he acts shy, and looks like a softy. nowhere near enough aggression and to be honest not much pace.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 19, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

Woops! I was wrong and I have to put my hand up; well done Hafeez and Taufeeq! Err, yeah I forgot about the flat deck on day two..I think Panesar will definitely come in for the next test. England needs two spinners. It's a fast bowler's nightmare.

Posted by Ben on (January 15, 2012, 13:23 GMT)

Go for Finn! England need out and out pace on this tour. There is also a good case for Panesar, as the wickets will spin a lot, but he can't bat or field, and without Bresnan, I don't think England bat well enough to have 5 bowlers. Having said that, Morgan is not getting runs, and I would like to see him dropped with an all rounder put in instead.

Posted by poula on (January 15, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Mohammed Hafiz or Javed Miandad. Paakistanis are going to be trashed

Posted by Tboy on (January 15, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

Yeah, Tremlett all the way mate. Some of the deliveries he bowled in last years Ashes series were brutal, including a beauty to Punter at the MCG I think. I agree, he bowl a nice length and doesnt get carried away with the short stuff (unlike Broad.) His approach to the crease is a bit like Joel Garner's (to me anyway) and he appears to be quite composed. I want to see more of this lad and look forward to the next ashes series as it could be a wonderful clash of bowling talent.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 15, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Ehhh? Isn't Stuart Broad playing? Broad, Tremlett and Finn would destroy the Pakistan top order--Mohd Hafeez, don't make me laugh, he's going back to his below 30 average score, and Taufeeq, oh dear,it's one thing scoring runs against S. Lanka and Bangladesh, against England, forget it. Fortunately Pakistan has Azhar Ali and a pretty good middle order all the way to Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq and Azhar having a decent defensive technique, seriously I hope England go in with both Panesar and Swann, because that will help Pakistan, here's hoping they add Onions too, and go with 4 pacemen, and bounce Pakistan out. England are No. 1, Pakistan has nothing to lose, and has a decent attack, better than India's by a 100%, finally Pakistan gets to play a first rate team, and now we'll know who's decent or not.

Posted by Anonymous on (January 14, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

i wanna see trmlett thrashed by the pakistani stylish and cool batsmen Mohammad Hafeez !

Posted by Jarrod on (January 14, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

As an Aussie, I can tell you that the only bowler I fear watching more than Tremors here is Swann. Get him in the side.

Posted by hassan on (January 14, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

He is built like a freaking machine. Great entertainment awaits!

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