'Stupid to say Indian middle order has lost its touch' July 25, 2007

Tremlett looks to be more aggressive

Cricinfo staff
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Chris Tremlett has worked on his body language to have "a bit more presence" while bowling © Getty Images

In early July, Chris Tremlett was putting in the hours on the county circuit for Hampshire - seemingly out of international reckoning after a forgettable tour of Australia. A week later he was playing for England Lions and made an unexpected Test debut at Lord's following Matthew Hoggard's injury.

"I was a bit shocked to play. I thought I was there [in the 14-member England squad] just as back-up," he revealed. "But I went there and practised hard, made a bit of an impression and got the call which I was delighted with."

He feels he didn't do too badly in Australia, except for one game against New Zealand when he conceded 72 runs off his 10 overs. He picked up a back injury in Australia and has worked on his fitness and action to try win back an England place.

After being written off as having no heart and desire in the winter, he spoke to his Hampshire team-mate Shane Warne and worked on being more aggressive on the field. "I just went ahead and bowled and tried to put the ball in the right areas and get the batsman out but against the better players you've got to have something about you and make the batsman fear you a little bit.

"When you are bowling out there, you don't see yourself. I thought my body language was good but you go away and look at yourself on TV and sometimes it looks a bit different. It is something I've tried to work on, be a bit more aggressive."

He describes aggression as "that pumped up feeling to do well and take wickets; you have that mind-set that you don't really like the batsman," which was something missing in his early career. "It is not something that comes naturally to me, to be aggressive and swear at people. I've got the attributes, I'm six feet, seven inches tall, and it's a question of using those things a little bit better than I have done in the past."

He said Allan Donald, the England bowling coach, had also advised him to express himself and to get in the Indian batsmen's faces. "They have a bit of a reputation for not liking the ball swinging and nipping around as much as other teams," Donald had told him prior to the Lord's Test.

Asked whether he regretted not getting a chance to play in the 2005 Ashes (when he was in the squad for the first four Tests but didn't make the final eleven), he said, "I could not get too gutted about not playing because the boys performed brilliantly." He had hoped to be picked for the final Test after Simon Jones was injured. But the selectors decided to go in with an extra batsman in Paul Collingwood. "I was disappointed not to get a game. It would have been amazing to play in that series. It is the one everyone remembers."

He terms his father Tim, a Hampshire stalwart of the 80s and former coach of the county, as a "massive influence". "Since the age of four or five cricket is what I wanted to do and he has always been there. He hasn't over-pushed me to become a cricketer. He'll send me text messages saying well done." Losing his brother in a car crash in 2001 has changed his outlook on life. "I take each day as it comes. I try not to plan too far ahead."

Tremlett dismissed the notion that the veterans in the Indian middle order were in decline. "They didn't score many in this match [at Lord's]. It would be stupid to say they are losing their touch. I played in the Lions game, Sachin made a 100, and he looked class." He called Rahul Dravid "a great player" and said that the conditions were quite hard for batting and the ball swung around a bit.

Regarding the Lord's Test where rain ruined England's chances of a victory, he said," We were disappointed because we worked really hard over five long days. It was a great team effort with the ball and bat and to get so close was so frustrating. We have to get it out of the system. We said in the team meeting that we have to go with the same intensity on Friday [when the second Test starts at Nottingham] and try and go one nil up."