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July 14, 2012
Chris Tremlett has confirmed he will remain at Surrey. The England fast bowler, whose central contract and Surrey contract expire at the end of this season, admitted he feared for his future after he was obliged to undergo back surgery having been forced home from England tour of the UAE with a disc injury.
Now, however, having returned to action in the Championship match at Guildford, Tremlett is looking to the future with more confidence and, despite turning 31 before the end of this season, retains some hope of returning to the England side.
"I'm still talking to the club," Tremlett told ESPNcricinfo, "but there is a one-year contract on the table at the moment. Coming to Surrey has changed my career and I'll definitely be staying. It is a much more ruthless environment than I was used to and the standards of what are required and expected from you are far higher."
Tremlett admitted playing for England again would be "a bonus," but said that members of England's coaching and support team had remained in contact and offered their encouragement.
"All sorts of things went through my mind when I knew I would have to have an operation," he said. "You wonder if you'll play again and I thought I wouldn't play this season. Having fought my way back into the England side and done pretty well, that injury was a real kick in the teeth.
"It was painful. I did it halfway through the Test, so there's no way I would have been able to bowl in the second innings and, knowing that I would have to undergo surgery was a massive blow.
"But the ECB found the best surgeon for the operation and, after I spoke to him, I was confident. He had operated on Graham Onions, among others. The operation has been a success. I wouldn't say I don't feel any pain - I guess it is stiffness and the reaction of nerve endings more than pain - but I've bowled quite a few overs in this game and, while there were times I struggled for rhythm, I'm pleased with how it went."
Tremlett bowled well against Lancashire. Generating customary bounce from a sleepy surface, he might have had two or three more wickets had Surrey's catching had been sounder. Perhaps more importantly, he bowled 27 overs without experiencing any significant negative reaction.
Recovering a place in the England side might prove a bridge too far, though. The continuing emergence of Steven Finn and the resurgence of Onions has left England with an embarrassment of fast bowling riches, though Tremlett's record - he has a Test bowling average of 26.75 - provides ample proof of his effectiveness at the top level.
"I haven't played enough to get back into the side for the South Africa series," Tremlett said. "I'd love it to happen, but it is unrealistic to think in those terms. Playing for England again would be a bonus. I don't want to put any pressure on myself by thinking like that. Even in this game, I became a bit impatient a couple of times, but I just have to get back to doing in 2010 when I was selected for England: bowling as well as I can for Surrey. Clearly the club has been through a lot of late and if I can help then that will be great.
"I speak to the England physios about once a week and I've spoken to the bowling coach David Saker and to Andy Flower a couple of times. I know Saker is a big fan of mine - he knows I have the skills and natural attributes - but we all know there are a couple of guys who are ahead of me now. I'm trying not to think about that. I just want to build up my pace and rhythm and enjoy playing cricket again."
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