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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?

Posted by kensohatter on (October 14, 2013, 2:31 GMT)

Fan of Tremlett but really do believe England have not got the bowling attack balance quite right. It shouldnt matter anyway cause Australia are a mess at present and if Clarke doesnt play have zero chance but I think Onions can count himself unlucky to not get included as cover for Anderson. Only two of Finn, Rankin and Tremlett should have gone and based on potential future value to England cricket Tremlett is lucky to get as he puts it one last shot.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 23:34 GMT)

It's a tragedy that his body has prevented him from playing more regularly - I remember how thrilling his performances were not only in the Ashes of 2010-11 but also in the Sri Lanka series of 2011. He was being compared to Joel Garner and I think he deserved it! It'd be great to see him recapture that form because he was brilliant to watch.

It will be interesting to see who breaks into the team after the tour matches. My money's on Rankin who looked in good form in the ODIs and seems to be very much a player on the up. Finn has a bit to do to prove he's over his recent patchiness, and Tremlett's obviously been struggling. But it's hard to believe there won't be a couple of enforced changes over a five match series.

Posted by 5wombats on (October 13, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

@TenDonebyaShooter - yeah good point. Onions did have a bad injury and yes - I applaud him too, very much. Tbh I don't think Tremlett will get a game in Aus. Mind you - I don't think Onions would get a game either. The pitches here are going to be hard and Perth like. Everyone is saying it. The curators are going to give the Aus bowlers every possible assistance - so it's as Tremlett says: It's going play right into Englands' strength, which is bowling. Aussies are bigging up their bowling - but most of it is on the physio table, and Harris - worthy though he is, will not play all 5 Tests. This forthcoming Ashes series is going to be fun to watch......

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 20:36 GMT)

Chris Tremlett has been and perhaps still is a class bowler whose career has been plagued by injuries; however, Graham Onions must be wondering what he has to do to get a game for his country. His stats and form warrant selection above both Tremlett and Finn.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (October 13, 2013, 16:53 GMT)

No particular criticism of Tremlett, but I think he along with a couple of others is very lucky to be on this tour ahead of Graham Onions. As wombats says: "when someone works hard to come back from a serious illness or major injury you simply have to applaud them just for the sheer guts to work hard and not give it up". Well that describes Onions to me.

Posted by lummox on (October 13, 2013, 15:28 GMT)

Cyril is spot on... I forgot to mention that in my earlier post. Tremlett's attitude and total lack of enthusiasm was there for all to see in Surrey's games, and as for his fielding yep totally embarrassing. As for " he's done it before " sorry but that just does'nt wash. They have all done it before, and they all reach a time when they can't.

The WORST thing is he looked uninterested and apparently NOT trying in games for Surrey so why does he deserve a chance. I say again very poor and I am certain his winter performances will prove his inclusion a big lolloping muscular failure. Sorry to be harsh but its how I see it

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (October 13, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

Tremlett has mind problems, already he is talking about getting injured again. It showed in his performances for Surrey, he bowls well within himself. I take it when he trained with England he put in extra effort, enough to impress (he "had us hopping around"), because there was very little that would have impressed anyone on the field.

The when he's fit he's great comments, really don't wash any more. He was fit all season but just didn't try to bowl fast or aggressively. His run-up (slow-motion) was a disgrace. His effort in the field a disgrace. His economy rate on paper looks good, but he did not make the batsman play, so many short and wide and so many down the leg side.

If he has to play for England this winter, he could well cost us the match.

Posted by MarkTaffin on (October 13, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

There seems to be much inconsistency in the England management set-up recently, one of the most obvious being the ludicrous non-selection of Tremlett at the Oval. That said, I think the fickleness of the management would suggest that Finn is significantly out of favour and that the choice for Brisbane is between Tremlett or Rankin or, perish the thought, Bresnan should he fool the selectors into believing he is fit enough. All things being equal, it should be the best bowl in the warm up games. Pedigree suggests that should be Tremlett. Form and the selectors might decide otherwise, however.

Posted by ukCraig on (October 13, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

I haven't got it in for Chris in any way, but the fact remains he has been selected despite poor form for a County that has just been relegated. This said it's true that modern Australian players are terrified of enormous blokes running at them so come on Chris. Prove my doubts to be groundless and get some wickets.

Posted by JG2704 on (October 13, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

I feel sorry for Tremlett with his injury setback curtailing 2 of his peak years but I don't believe his form is worthy of a recall. Surely England would not even be considering a player with CT's stats of 2013 if he had not done well for England before. Part of me wonders if it's a psychological pick based on what he did in Oz last time?

Posted by lummox on (October 13, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

I've watched Tremlett many, many times this season, I'm a Surrey member & supporter BUT sorry his performances have been worse than poor, no pace, no consistency, at least one four ball nearly every over. POOR, POOR and totally unfair selection. Graham Onions especially and other must wonder why they bother

Posted by 5wombats on (October 13, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

I'm not so sure. I think Lurch has already left us with an indelible impression of superb fast bowling. For me Tremlett will always have a place in the pantheon: Remembering him destroying Australia at Melbourne for example; in the 1st dig 4/26 in 12 overs including Watson and Ponting it was magnificent. His figures for that 2010/11 Ashes in Australia were 17 wickets at 23.5, and he only played in 3 of the Tests! I want to see the best England team play and I have to say that I am not so sure that Tremlett would get into the team atm ahead of either Broad or Finn. But when someone works hard to come back from a serious illness or major injury you simply have to applaud them just for the sheer guts to work hard and not give it up, and for this reason Tremlett certainly should be acknowledged as a battler. Whether he comes back or not - Chris Tremlett - as they say over here; "you're a legend", and we thank you!

Posted by landl47 on (October 13, 2013, 0:20 GMT)

The problem for Tremlett is the numbers game. On the last tour Broad got injured and Finn, who was 21, ran out of gas and was dropped even though he was the leading wicket-taker on either side at the time. This time Broad is healthy, Finn is 24 and the quickest bowler England has on the tour and if either of those two go down there's still Boyd Rankin, just as big as Tremlett and in better form recently. It's hard not to see Tremlett as the 5th option for England at the start of the series.

However, if he's fit, if he can bowl with some pace and nip and if the wickets suit him, he's a pretty useful 5th option.

Posted by CricketChat on (October 13, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

Tremlett was right on the money. For his sake, I hope he doesn't get injured. Rest will be in his hands.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (October 12, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

When he is fit he is truly awesome and highly respected. When people get the sort of injuries he had it takes an age to get through it all back to where one wants to be. It took Onions a long time but look where he is now-okay not on this tour but back to his best with 70 wickets for Durham-(mind you Tremlett likes it there too) and hopefully this will be spur to Tremlett to really fire. If he does we will be a better side for it. I do wonder how Aus will prepare their wickets. As mentioned they are afraid of Swann,and the sight of 4 giants should put the wind up them,while slow and low we can deal with in our sleep as it's sort of default anyway.

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