NatWest T20 Blast countdown May 14, 2014

The T20 entertainer England missed

Lionised in Taunton and championed for England by county fans everywhere, Peter Trego has not given up on bringing his brand of belligerence to the international stage

When England called up Ian Bell and Chris Woakes as replacements for their World T20 squad in Bangladesh, there was a slumping of shoulders from England supporters at the lack of inspiration. Fine cricketers both but not exciting new names to raise expectations. Might a jovial West Country allrounder have been the man to enthuse the fans?

The sight England have lost, spectators in this season's revamped NatWest T20 Blast can revel in. Peter Trego, beloved in Somerset and vociferously championed for years by much of the county cricket fraternity on social media, can be expected to bring his own brand of belligerence to Friday nights.

Trego provides entertainment. After many years at Somerset, with T20 experience around the world - although escaping the gaze of the IPL - and with high-class ability with both bat and ball, is Trego the man England have missed? Predictably overlooked for the upcoming Sri Lanka series, he begins a fresh new domestic T20 format with international ambitions still to be realised.

"That's the reason I wake up in the morning and want to play cricket," Trego said after another day delighting the Somerset public, this time with a counter-attacking innings against Nottinghamshire. "I'm not blind to the social media stuff, I get a lot of support from the general public saying they'd like to see me get a crack and that is completely my goal within my career.

"I know that I can do it. I've done it on the big stage against IPL franchises and world-class attacks and it's just about doing enough consistently to get that opportunity because I don't think anyone in English cricket wouldn't admit that there are spaces in the limited-overs England teams."

Trego moved into England circles in 2010 with 10 appearances for the Lions. But England were then at their peak. The team sheet may now have more blanks to fill than for many years but has this opening come too late for Trego, who will turn 33 next month and pushing the back-end of an average cricketers' lifespan by the time the next World T20 comes around in 2016? The best advice is to catch him in the Blast while he remains at his peak.

"Age doesn't concern me," a sanguine Trego said. "Statistically I'm probably one of the fittest cricketers in the country. I train and do triathlons on my days off for fun. From a physical point of view, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in in my life. I've worked relentlessly, especially over the last two years on my physical self and made some surprising ground even for myself. So it doesn't bother me. It's about putting up the numbers on the board."

And Trego's career numbers compare very well against the members of England's World T20 squad. In last year's Friends Life t20, he was among the leading all-round performers with 289 runs at 36.12 and a strike rate of 117.95. With the ball, his economy rate of 5.86 was the fourth best of bowlers to have played in 10 or more matches.

"I love the fact that I entertain and will continue to do so. T20 is a great opportunity to go out there and give the crowd exciting cricket and that's certainly what I'm trying to deliver"
Peter Trego

Not blessed with express pace and often asked to bowl during the Powerplay, Trego has developed a number of change-ups to ensure he remains unpredictable. His armoury contains an offcutter, legcutter, one out of the back of the hand and a seam-up delivery where he does not snap his wrist. He uses the yorker only as a last resort but has been working on the wide full delivery that is in vogue.

"I've almost got to bowl with a spinner's mentality," he says. "With three or four variations on my slower ball and making sure that my stock delivery into length is bowled hard into the pitch so if there is some seam movement I exploit that.

"I'm not a particularly strong yorker bowler, so I need to find different ways of tying the batsman down. When you're not blessed with huge amounts of speed you have to rely on a bit of craft so having different slower balls is pretty crucial."

Trego is also tasked with a top-order slot in the batting and made handy runs in last season's FLt20. But it was in the 40-over competition that he found his best form last season, with 745 runs at 82.77, the leading tally in the tournament as Somerset reached the semi-finals.

It would be easy to see Trego's heavily tattooed arms, hear the gentle West County burr in his voice, realise his love for entertaining and cast Trego as a happy-go-lucky cricketer. But success rarely comes without a plan and, like the careful thinking behind his bowling, he talks intelligently about tactics with the bat.

"I like to go in in the first 10-15 balls and just look to hit fours, not necessarily look to go aerial," Trego says. "I normally find that when I'm hitting the ball sweetly and piercing the gaps for fours, the sixes take care of themselves a bit.

"I think as a top-order batter in one-day cricket you have to back yourself to maybe see a few dots in the early part of your innings but with the confidence that you can catch up later on in your innings and get the boundaries flowing.

"I'll be looking to concentrate on my ball-striking really and making sure I'm connecting with balls in the right ways, not trying to over-hit too much. I think there were times when a lot of guys used to try and hit the ball three streets away whereas you only have to get it over the rope.

"With all the gym work we do nowadays and the big bats, it's all about timing really, the guys who are successful at T20 are good timers of the ball, they don't just go out swinging blindfolded."

Trego enjoys a T20 day - a refreshing affair after the rigours of four-day cricket, where at Taunton the games are difficult to get through for an allrounder. The shortest format also provides the best platform for his desire to please the crowd: "When I'm having fun is definitely when I'm at my best." The dashing 86 that lit up Somerset's last Championship match, a tame draw against Notts, demonstrates that he plays in the same way across all formats.

"I play with one of the greats of the modern era in Marcus Trescothick and it's a great feeling for me to have an equally loud clap when I walk to the wicket," Trego says. "I love the fact that I entertain and will continue to do so. T20 is a great opportunity to go out there and give the crowd exciting cricket and that's certainly what I'm trying to deliver."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on June 3, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Too true they missed Trego. Hildreth as well. Trego's a power player which England don't have. He should have been tried as a replacement for Flintoff. We don't have an all-rounder to take it to the opposition. Makes one wonder when onensees the number of chances players like Root or Carberry gets. I really don't think our selectors watch international cricket. Australia now has several big hitters and pace bowlers who win games. even if we have them we ignore them. Don't miss out on the Overton twins : they have the raw ability to be real match-winners.

  • Simon on May 16, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGO. A lot of sentiments in the article and posts that I agree with wholeheartedly. We seem obsessed with picking supposed 'international class' players while neglect to play specialist format players. In Trego, with medium pace and a bowling economy in T20s under 6, and an England power hitting crisis, we are missing a huge trick. Why not give him a go in an unimportant T20 tour match (there are so many) to see if he sinks or swims. We pick spray around fast bowlers or line and length, when the pace off bowlers frequently have the best stats (Yardy and Bopara come to mind). When I saw the make up of Moores one day sides, without Patel, and inevitably without Trego, I just resigned myself to not really caring. Englands loss, our gain & looking forward to Trego tonight putting one into the western sky in sight of the hills of Somerset.

  • John on May 15, 2014, 20:11 GMT

    @CodandChips on (May 15, 2014, 16:18 GMT) re Southern and Northern groups being much better - I'm not so sure. On paper yes but last season the 2 SF finals both involved unfancied sides from the SW group with one of the winning a trophy. I'd do exactly the same as the T20 with quarter finals/semi finals ....

    Not sure how you'd do it but I reckon the 9 teams (odd number) is a bad idea. You don't get any football league with an odd number of teams in it's league and I think it lends itself to poor scheduling

  • Mike on May 15, 2014, 19:47 GMT

    As a Somerset fan I, too, would have mixed feelings about losing Trego to England. As for Paul_Somerset's comments about second tier cricketers, I think that is more a matter of their sides sitting in Division Two DESPITE Carberry, Briggs, Tredwell, Moeen Ali (and Alastair Cook and Bopara?!) rather than BECAUSE of them.

  • Paulo on May 15, 2014, 16:18 GMT

    @JG the multi format examples were about players who have truly dominated. I guess KP for a bit but he was poor in ODIs in recent years.

    Re Carberry don't hold back for fear of offending me. I think he's looked terribly uncomfortable playing for England. Many people in Hampshire think he batted slowly for England due to tactics and he did look nervous). When you factor in the poor fielding, sloppy dismissals and scores of 40 odd, I think it's clear he was not comfortable. Also I'm gutted to have him miss out on many T20 and championship matches to likely be drinks carrying for England with Chris Woakes.

    Re regional teams the issue might be different groups of different strength. Look at T20 where the North and South groups have clearly been stronger than the mid/west/Wales.

    Re your second proposal. Why not just give Scotland and Ireland a team each in division 2? Or Unicorns? Or 3 leagues of 6?

  • John on May 15, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    @CodandChips on (May 15, 2014, 10:42 GMT) ctd

    2 - In CC - have one division of 8 and one of 10 rather than 2 groups of 9. This would mean that every team will play their games simultaneously to the other teams in that division - Somerset were without a game for a week or so and it would happen to all the teams. Having an even number of teams would spread out the fixtures more and it may also enable an idea of playing 5 day CC games which would produce more results and maybe be better prep for test cricket?

  • John on May 15, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    @CodandChips on (May 15, 2014, 10:42 GMT) I think there are more examples about multi format cricketers and I have seen Steyn do well in T20 - a format where I think the best can have a bad day. I know you're a Hants fan so I'll try not to offend you but I felt Carberry didn't show the aggression/flambouyance in England colours. Trego may be the same but he should be given a go. Division status matters not a jot as there is no divisional status for shorter formats where the groups are separated by regions in T20 and drawn randomly in 50 over cricket. Actually 2 changes I would make is

    1 - Have 50 over group stage cricket regionalised rather than randomly drawn. It surely makes sense for travelling fans etc ...

  • Paul on May 15, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    @CodandChips and JG2704: Players and teams look very handy in Div. 2 when they're playing in Div. 2. Put them in Div. 1 and they're immediately out of their depth. Derbyshire went straight back down, Surrey survived just 2 seasons of struggle, while Northants and Lancs have just been thrashed by an innings and 10 wickets and look certainties for immediate relegation.

    Persistently sticking these players into an international environment in any format is just plain cruel - Kerrigan, Parry, Meaker are further examples.

    Anyhow, ultimately I agree with JG. It's my County I care about, and Trego at Somerset will always be a legend to me in a way that would be impossible in the peculiar environment in which England currently absorbs itself.

  • Paulo on May 15, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    @JG I agree it's absurd that players that specialise in a format don't play in it but play in others. Bar AB DeVilliers and recently Virat Kohli, nobody currently dominates all 3 formats. Look at the way Steyn is struggling this IPL.

    Woakes is not a white-ball cricketer. Bresnan is not an any form cricketer.

    I also agree with you re divisional status Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but there are some very handy teams and players in div 2.

  • John on May 15, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    @Paul_Somerset on (May 14, 2014, 21:15 GMT) To be fair I'd say the division status of the team a player plays for should be irrelevant. We must remember that there is no higher or lower division status in shorter formats anyway. Trego didn't have the greatest 2012 but had a great 2013 and now is the best time to try him. I have no issue with Bopara and Tredwell who have been our most consistent bowlers and no major issue with Briggs/Dernach who are both still young and Ali has done well in a struggling Wors side so no issues there either but If it's an age issue then why are they going back to Carberry who like I said looked timid in England colours. Already mentioned re my issues with Bresnan/Woakes. Just wish they'd pick players on merit. Why can't we have test players playing test cricket and shorter format specialists play SFs?

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