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This is my last chance - Tremlett

George Dobell

October 11, 2013

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Chris Tremlett bowls during England net practice, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, August 20, 2013
Tremlett's height rendered him a daunting proposition on Australian pitches during the 2010-11 series © Getty Images
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Chris Tremlett has admitted the Ashes tour presents a "now or never" opportunity for him in international cricket.

Tremlett, the 32-year-old fast bowler, has been named in the touring squad despite a modest season in domestic cricket and knows that, if he is ever to establish himself back in the England side, it will have to be on this tour to Australia where the pitches are expected to suit his height and skills.

Tremlett was a key member of the England side that retained the Ashes on their last tour to Australia in 2010-11, using his attributes to great effect in claiming 17 wickets in three Tests at an average of just 23.35. But, only a year later, he was forced home from England's tour of UAE through injury.

After undergoing two bouts of surgery, has won a recall not so much for his record in county cricket - Tremlett's 32 Championship wickets in 2013 cost 33.03 a piece - but on the basis of his performance on Australian pitches three years ago and his potential to recover such form. He knows he is likely to win few further opportunities to justify the selectors' faith in him.

"I am not getting any younger," Tremlett said. "So this might be my last chance. I do view it as a now or never situation.

"If I get another injury that might be it. It would be hard to go through what I've gone through again. If I got another stress fracture or if my back went again I am not sure I could go through another year of rehab. I've done enough rehab in my career."

Tremlett has been written-off before. Ahead of the 2010-11 Ashes, there were those who claimed he lacked the heart for the pressure of the big stage and suggestion that he was diffident or even lazy. He admits that proving the doubters wrong is a motivational tool.

"There are always people that talk about my injuries and say I don't care enough or I don't want it enough," Tremlett said. "That's another thing that motivates me. It's always nice to come back and prove certain people wrong. It something I get a bit of a buzz from: proving people wrong. People say you're not good enough, and you come back and perform. That's motivation in itself to do well and to keep working hard. All those things keep you going."

While Tremlett may not owe his selection to performance at county level, there is nothing new in that. He believes that it was a net session in 2010, just a few weeks before the Ashes tour, when he made the vital impression on David Saker, the England bowling coach. It may well have been the same this time.

"My numbers might not be amazing this year," Tremlett said, "but it's not always just about stats. I know that is what generally people go on, but it's about how you are bowling as well.

"In the last two months of the season, I felt I was bowling near to my best. At the start of the season, I found it pretty tough finding my feet again. It's not been easy to get back and anyone will tell you, the pitches at The Oval have offered nothing to tall fast bowlers. I'm not making excuses, but the ball doesn't really bounce. Even when we've played away, we've played on some very flat pitches.

"In terms of pace, there were days when I was getting up there. I don't think I've ever really found 90mph, I would say my average speed is probably around 85mph on a good day, pushing high-80s.

"But the England team management were in touch reasonably early. That was good in itself, to know they were still thinking about me. Then they asked me to go and train at Lord's and bowl at the guys in the nets. I bowled pretty well. My numbers might not be amazing this year, but I certainly feel that I've progressed during the season after a torrid time with injury.

"When I go back to 2010, David Saker asked me to have a net here at The Oval just to have a look at me. That was my chance to really impress him. That net got me on the Ashes tour last time. It was about six weeks before the tour. Kevin Pietersen was having a bat and Saker wanted to see me bowl as he hadn't seen me before. I'm pretty sure that was the moment he saw something in me. People didn't think I would be picked but I was picked ahead of Ajmal Shahzad, who I think was originally going to go.

"Saker is someone who has always seen something in me, he's always backed me every time I've been in the England side and he knows what I can do. He knows it's not just about my height. He knows the skills I have as well."

Now Tremlett hopes that Australia, in their desire to negate the spin of Graeme Swann, will prepare wickets to suit pace bowlers. And if they do, he hopes it will "play into our hands" as he puts it.

"Obviously, they're worried about the ball spinning for Graeme Swann, as he is such a big weapon for the England side," Tremlett said. "So that might play into our hands. Any tall bowler wants bounce and carry in the wicket and we've got Stuart Broad, myself, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin.

"I did well there last time, which is I'm sure one of the reasons I'm going again. I've been to Australia a few times, and I know how to take wickets over there. It's taking my experience over there and trying to replicate what I did three years ago. I was delighted to get the call and hopefully I can repay the selectors' faith by playing well and taking wickets again."

Chris Tremlett was supporting the Chance to Shine Annual Awards. Chance to Shine is keeping cricket alive in schools and just £15 pays for a year's coaching for one child. Donate atchancetoshine.org

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by 5wombats on (October 17, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

@JG2704. I'm not saying Lurch is an automatic pick. Unfortunately far from it. But look at what happened over here last time - Tremlett was brought over as a surprise package and he certainly did that, starting at Perth. It's blazingly obvious that Australia's only hope is to turn their pitches into ones where they feel they can bowl England out: pitches that are either green lottery style or trampolines. Last time in Aus there was a lot of trickery pulled by the Aus curators, esp at Perth and to a degree in Sydney. But it didn't do them any good because overall we simply outplayed Australia. SO I am saying that England will need bowlers for trampolines and green tops. Aus would be very foolish to (and won't) produce green tops so that leaves trampolines and this is why Rankin/Finn/Broad/Lurch are in the frame. Agree it's very harsh on Onions - but overall CT is the one who is most likely to encounter conditions he favours. Unfortunately he is out of form though.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 16, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

@AKS286 on (October 16, 2013, 7:13 GMT) Have you actually seen anything of Tremlett since he came back from injury or even studied the stats? We've all seen how good Tremlett has been on his day but we can't just magic up form/rhythm from nowhere. Otherwise why has he not done it this season for Surrey?

Posted by AKS286 on (October 16, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

He is a talent just natural pace bowler. Tremlett is still my favourite as a third seamer. Now the Expatriate Rankin takes job from son of soil. Tremlett is a natural pace bowler and can extract bounce and pace in any pitch. He is better than Finn, Onions. He also deserve ODI spot atleast he is far better than "The Bowling Inflation" i.e Dernbach, Meaker, Woakes, Stokes & Finn. Good wishes fella you will made it !.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 14, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

@MarkTaffin on (October 14, 2013, 10:45 GMT) Re Tremlett/Finn - Tremlett has not played at international level for some time now so it's hard to compare the 2 at international level but Finn seems to have done better at county level this season and Tremlett seems to have done very little at that level. Obviously figures/stats don't tell the whole story but from the few fan reports on here he has not looked the part either.

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (October 14, 2013, 11:46 GMT) Agree - they seem to have 2 reserves as cover for one position and none for another

@milepost on (October 14, 2013, 12:34 GMT) Well England won the last Ashes series 3-0 - so if Eng's bowling is substandard it seems to say much more about the Oz batting. Maybe Oz will improve in that dept in this series

Posted by milepost on (October 14, 2013, 12:34 GMT)

Bowling is England's strength? That's a laugh. Tremlett won't likely get a game unless he plays in and rips up some wickets in warm up games. It's going to be a long summer for Engkand, a long hard summer with plenty of fielding and bowling practice.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (October 14, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

@JG2704 (post on October 14, 2013, 8:23 GMT): I think Cook said in his recent interview that if anything were to happen to Anderson, Onions would be called up straight away - but I agree that's not much use if a freak injury suddenly takes place during training ala Glen McGrath...

@MarkTaffin (post on October 14, 2013, 10:45 GMT): I thought Finn was extremely unlucky not to play at Lords during the last Ashes (which is his hunting ground!) and instead was/is being judged solely on his one performance in a game and on a ground where he was destined to struggle. I think he can/could still be a dark horse down under and deserves a chance more than Rankin in my opinion.

Posted by MarkTaffin on (October 14, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

I think those who are querying why Tremlett was picked ahead of Onions/how close he is to a recall, have forgotten how much Finn has disappointed and far down the pecking order he has slipped. He's had recent chances, fluffed 'em; Tremlett and Rankin haven't had the chances.

Fact is, Onions would have toured ahead of Finn for me, or at least instead of Rankin. And, while we're at it, Jim Taylor would have gone ahead of Ballance and Compdog instead of Carberry

Posted by Nutcutlet on (October 14, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Going to Oz for the 2010-11 series, I was certain as I could be that Tremlett was going to play a significant part. I said, I remember, that he was 'custom built' to succeed. He wasn't everyone's choice then & although he'd had a good season for Surrey, he hadn't played a Test since Aug 2007, injury having intervened between then & his very good 2010 season. Once again, he is picked out of a pack in which Onions is the most deserving, to return to the country of his greatest feats. This time I feel that he is down in the pecking order, behind Rankin and the usual suspects & if the tall lads stay fit, he may not get a game. Be that as it may, it's clear that he's a fine tourist & will not mope & bicker as the team makes its way from venue to venue. The character of the fringe players matters; they are part of the tone & focus of the tour overall. Tremlett will make his contribution, picked or not. That's why he's there, but if he's given an opening, he'll repay the faith shown in him.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (October 14, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

Wouldn't it be ironic now if Australia prepared turning wickets instead, and play Lyon, Hauritz, Beer, Doherty, O'Keefe etc. as their bowling attack...

Meanwhile, back in reality, I've never been a big fan of picking players on promise alone instead of form - be that promise from historic series or, in some cases, nothing more than a whim (often based on form in short formats perhaps). Tremlett's selection ahead of the likes of Onions was always going to split the field, and at the moment I'm on the side saying Tremlett's a very lucky man to be on that plane heading to Aus. The guy's a real fighter though, and if he plays he'll play hard and give it his all; I DO think he'll get at least a couple of games as Finn and Rankin don't epitomise consistency much, and Broad had a great series in U.K. so he's overdue a wobble.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 14, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

@5wombats on (October 13, 2013, 20:57 GMT) Re Tremlett's inclusion / Onion's exclusion. I still think they have the balance wrong. I think we all agree that 2 of the 3 pacers will be Jimmy and Broad with the other being between Rankin and Finn - my thoughts will be Rankin. So if true (and let's say Boyd get's the gig) then Finn would come in if Boyd get's injured etc. But what if Jimmy gets injured - where's the cover? Unless CT shows something (that stats and all accounts suggest) he hasn't all season in the warm up games etc then I feel it's a bad call. Also , even if we want a 3rd bowler with height etc in the squad is CT the best we have? Your thoughts?

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