James Tredwell November 11, 2013

'Once you've had a taste of playing for England, you want more'

James Tredwell on captaining England, bowling alongside Graeme Swann, and walking like a penguin
17

Whatever happens between now and the end of your career, you're James Tredwell, England captain. How does that sound?
It's something that can't be taken away. At least I tossed the coin - but I even got that bit wrong! I'm not sure Michael Lumb was too happy with having to have a bat because he nicked the second one. It's more than a great honour to be selected to captain my country. It's just a shame I didn't get more of a crack at it.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
It has to be playing for my country. Every time I pull on that shirt it's a massive honour. As a kid you always dream of playing Test cricket, so that game - and being awarded that cap - is the pinnacle.

You have played one Test, did well, and never got another chance. Is that something that eats away at you?
In my mind, it's a pretty good achievement that I've done that. Once you've had a taste of it you want more, of course. Thankfully I'll get a bit more of a go, who knows?

Much of that time you've spent as understudy to Graeme Swann. Just how good is he?
He's excellent, one of best fingerspinners there has ever been, I imagine. His record has been fantastic. Having the opportunity to be alongside him is fantastic. I can learn a lot off him even if we are different types of bowlers.

Who is the greatest offspinner that has ever lived?
Swanny has to be up there. Other names that come into my mind are the likes of Tim May and Ashley Mallett. John Emburey had a pretty good career as an offspinner but it's difficult to beat Swanny.

In the days of T20, with big bats and small boundaries, what's the secret to surviving as a spinner?
The realisation that you're going to get hit now and again. If you think you can go through every game and you're not going to get hit around the park, you're a bit silly. The challenge is to make it as difficult as possible not to get smacked. The threat of going for a few as a spinner is a large one, though.

You are celebrating a big win for England. Who's the last player to buy a round?
I'm not one for going out massively so I don't see the conclusion of the night.

And who is the messiest in the dressing room?
I'm not the tidiest myself. The odd batter throws a bit of kit around and often a helmet goes bouncing around the room but most of the lads are pretty good. A few are very particular with lining up all their gear.

Like who?
Trotty [Jonathan Trott] is one, and Matthew Prior is very tidy.

The nickname Pingu. Where has that come from?
I tended to waddle when I walk, a bit like a penguin. Mark Ealham and Matt Walker came up with that one. I've got a big nose as well.

Which batsman from history would you love to have bowled at?
You always like to test yourself against the best, so it's hard to single one out. Mark Waugh really stood out and I'd have liked to watch him face to face and see exactly how good he was.

Who has been the toughest batsman you have bowled at?
Virat Kohli is one that really stands out. Carl Hooper was a fantastic player of spin too - and he hit a massive ball. He seemed to do with absolute ease and was such a languid player. In county cricket, Stuart Law was a fantastic player for Lancashire.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Early on it was probably my dad. He got me through my first few years, ferried me everywhere and was not a bad club cricketer himself. I was playing when he was playing and picked up a lot of things from him. Then you get into a stage in your teens when you don't want to listen to your dad. When I was involved with the Kent stuff, in the next phase of my career, Chris Stone was second-team coach and he was pretty formative.

Who is the best T20 player on the planet?
Chris Gayle.

If you were not a cricketer, what would you be?
I've no idea whatsoever. I used to enjoy design and technology at school so maybe something with that.

Give us one young cricketer who is destined for a big future.
Daniel Bell-Drummond. He's got an impressive temperament and goes about his business in the right way.

If you had to choose someone to play you in a film, who would it be?
He'd have to be bald. I'll go with Bruce Willis.

What is the worst thing about being a professional cricketer?
The time away from home takes its toll, especially with a young family like I have.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Thomas_Atwood on November 13, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Interesting stuff - below the line that is - Tredwell seems to have been on the Monty Panesar media training course. I was motivated to look at Jim Laker's stats and pretty stonking they are - averaged 21 in tests. Of course uncovered pitches and changes to the LBW law make it particularly hard to compare off spinners across generations.

  • on November 13, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    playing 15 tests in a year gives massive advantage to lay claim of being the best. In 4 years Swann has more tests than great West Indian pacers !! 4 years ... true greats are who woke up again and again years after years ... atleast 10-15 years and still perform well. Swann doesn't count, never will unless he plays until he is 42

  • Jaffa79 on November 12, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Gibbs, Swann, Laker and Mallet were the best spinners who don't throw it and Murali, Saqlain, Ajmal and Harbajan were the best that did throw it. There...settled.

  • Biggus on November 12, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    Odd answers about the best offies ever. Even if you're discussing classical offies and therefore don't consider Murali you'd have to mention Jim Laker, and given that Ian Chappell rated Prasanna as one of the best bowlers he faced he'd have to come into consideration. Emburey getting a mention is a bit of a joke. Even though I'd consider Swann England's best offie since Laker he isn't in the same class in my opinion, for although he gives the ball a good rip he's not a great flighter of the ball which tends to leave him far less effective on flat tracks than he ought to be. Laker on the other hand had it all, allied to perhaps the most perfect off spinner's action ever.

  • Insult_2_Injury on November 12, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    Some funny stuff from Tredwell. Political correctness gone mad, he must have thought he was at an after match press conference where you aren't allowed to say anything against your team mates. Or is that his plan to get more games for England? Couldn't even give a good natured ribbing to messy team mates. Then went to the hilarious length of saying Swann is a better offie than Murali. Hardest batsman he's bowled to is a bloke who's played a couple of games, not a batsman who pastes him in County. Strange stuff!

  • Mohit_Suryawanshi on November 12, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Lance Gibbs took 309 wickets when tests weren't played often. If he played today, he would have easily taken 800..or more. I'm happy that my comments have invited responses, bcoz a discussion is stimulating when there are divergent views. As many have pointed out, Murli is a wrist-spinner. Jut bcoz he turns the ball from off to leg doen't mean he's a finger spinner, he doesn't use his fingers to impart spin. I am a great fan of his, though, and think he's a genius. As a pure all-round offspinner on all surfaces, Gibbs was the best, Erapalli Prasanna gave the most joy but he had his breaking point-just ask Zaheer Abbas. Moreover, his lack of fitness would have been a deterrent in the modern game. To all the detractors of Harbhajan Singh, he was bowling crap the last few years and should not have been selected on reputation alone. However, in his pomp he made the ball hum, spin and buzz right from the time it left his hand, and the flight was the tantalizing one which made u unsure.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - "we all know how poor England are in limited overs cricket"- while I admit we're not great, but we one WT20 2010, and we did reach the CT13 final (agreed, in Eng and Wales but the pitches were very dry) and were 1st/2nd in the ICC rankings with South Africa for a lot of last year in both ODIs and T20s.

    Also "Graeme Swann is an OKAY test bowler"- go watch him play.

    And "Ashwin is really a batsman who can bowl off spin"- his bowling average of 28 isn't excepitional, but is still pretty good, especially when combined with economy of under 3.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 11, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Honestly, modern spinners are like sardines in a can. They are compressed into a tight schedule, made to bowl on unfriendly surfaces MOST of the time at batsmen with bigger bats, smaller boundaries and silly rules. So it is difficult to rate who was/is the best. Still, I feel Murali and Warne were the best spinners of the modern era; one an off-spinner and the other a leg-spinner. The rest are pretty mediocre and average. Saeed Ajmal is easily the next best spinner. Harbhajan Singh WAS good but he's pathetic now. So it would be silly to bring him up. Graeme Swann is an OKAY test bowler, but an ordinary ODI bowler. Sunil Narine is under used so I don't have much to say about him. Ashwin is really a batsman who can bowl off spin. Where does Tredwell fit here ? Unfortunately, he only features in England's ODI and T20 plans, and we all know how poor England are in limited overs cricket. Hence, that doesn't do justice to Tredwell. Personally, I think he's a good spinner.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    A good bowler. Considering he has played pretty much all of his ODIs in the last 2 years, and is constantly on the yo-yo, and considering he got crucified by the Aussies recently, his record is magnificent. Certainly an underrated ODI bowler. Shame his fist class season was poor. Also shame his captaincy lasted less than one over, and shame he couldn't hit the last ball of the CT13 final for 6, and upgrade his status from unsung hero to proper legend.

    On Swanny, he isn't an all time great. But he has been battling it out for best spinner with Ajmal for the last few years, and atm I would say Ajmal is better.

    @Mohit- Harbhajan? Really?

    Chris Gayle best t20 player on the planet? Interesting topic of debate. I'd go with Shahid Afridi, because he is such a remarkable all-rounder.

    The idea of Trott lining up his pads is certainly believable.

  • on November 11, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    The amount of stick JT is taking here is unreal! As kingkarthik says, he's only going on who he has seen. He has clearly stuck to "traditional" off-spin bowling, which is why Murali hasn't been mentioned, as he is a wrist-spinner by technicality, and is in a category different to that of the traditional offie. Plus, it's his views, not yours, so why argue the case?

  • Thomas_Atwood on November 13, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Interesting stuff - below the line that is - Tredwell seems to have been on the Monty Panesar media training course. I was motivated to look at Jim Laker's stats and pretty stonking they are - averaged 21 in tests. Of course uncovered pitches and changes to the LBW law make it particularly hard to compare off spinners across generations.

  • on November 13, 2013, 5:40 GMT

    playing 15 tests in a year gives massive advantage to lay claim of being the best. In 4 years Swann has more tests than great West Indian pacers !! 4 years ... true greats are who woke up again and again years after years ... atleast 10-15 years and still perform well. Swann doesn't count, never will unless he plays until he is 42

  • Jaffa79 on November 12, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    Gibbs, Swann, Laker and Mallet were the best spinners who don't throw it and Murali, Saqlain, Ajmal and Harbajan were the best that did throw it. There...settled.

  • Biggus on November 12, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    Odd answers about the best offies ever. Even if you're discussing classical offies and therefore don't consider Murali you'd have to mention Jim Laker, and given that Ian Chappell rated Prasanna as one of the best bowlers he faced he'd have to come into consideration. Emburey getting a mention is a bit of a joke. Even though I'd consider Swann England's best offie since Laker he isn't in the same class in my opinion, for although he gives the ball a good rip he's not a great flighter of the ball which tends to leave him far less effective on flat tracks than he ought to be. Laker on the other hand had it all, allied to perhaps the most perfect off spinner's action ever.

  • Insult_2_Injury on November 12, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    Some funny stuff from Tredwell. Political correctness gone mad, he must have thought he was at an after match press conference where you aren't allowed to say anything against your team mates. Or is that his plan to get more games for England? Couldn't even give a good natured ribbing to messy team mates. Then went to the hilarious length of saying Swann is a better offie than Murali. Hardest batsman he's bowled to is a bloke who's played a couple of games, not a batsman who pastes him in County. Strange stuff!

  • Mohit_Suryawanshi on November 12, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Lance Gibbs took 309 wickets when tests weren't played often. If he played today, he would have easily taken 800..or more. I'm happy that my comments have invited responses, bcoz a discussion is stimulating when there are divergent views. As many have pointed out, Murli is a wrist-spinner. Jut bcoz he turns the ball from off to leg doen't mean he's a finger spinner, he doesn't use his fingers to impart spin. I am a great fan of his, though, and think he's a genius. As a pure all-round offspinner on all surfaces, Gibbs was the best, Erapalli Prasanna gave the most joy but he had his breaking point-just ask Zaheer Abbas. Moreover, his lack of fitness would have been a deterrent in the modern game. To all the detractors of Harbhajan Singh, he was bowling crap the last few years and should not have been selected on reputation alone. However, in his pomp he made the ball hum, spin and buzz right from the time it left his hand, and the flight was the tantalizing one which made u unsure.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - "we all know how poor England are in limited overs cricket"- while I admit we're not great, but we one WT20 2010, and we did reach the CT13 final (agreed, in Eng and Wales but the pitches were very dry) and were 1st/2nd in the ICC rankings with South Africa for a lot of last year in both ODIs and T20s.

    Also "Graeme Swann is an OKAY test bowler"- go watch him play.

    And "Ashwin is really a batsman who can bowl off spin"- his bowling average of 28 isn't excepitional, but is still pretty good, especially when combined with economy of under 3.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 11, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Honestly, modern spinners are like sardines in a can. They are compressed into a tight schedule, made to bowl on unfriendly surfaces MOST of the time at batsmen with bigger bats, smaller boundaries and silly rules. So it is difficult to rate who was/is the best. Still, I feel Murali and Warne were the best spinners of the modern era; one an off-spinner and the other a leg-spinner. The rest are pretty mediocre and average. Saeed Ajmal is easily the next best spinner. Harbhajan Singh WAS good but he's pathetic now. So it would be silly to bring him up. Graeme Swann is an OKAY test bowler, but an ordinary ODI bowler. Sunil Narine is under used so I don't have much to say about him. Ashwin is really a batsman who can bowl off spin. Where does Tredwell fit here ? Unfortunately, he only features in England's ODI and T20 plans, and we all know how poor England are in limited overs cricket. Hence, that doesn't do justice to Tredwell. Personally, I think he's a good spinner.

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    A good bowler. Considering he has played pretty much all of his ODIs in the last 2 years, and is constantly on the yo-yo, and considering he got crucified by the Aussies recently, his record is magnificent. Certainly an underrated ODI bowler. Shame his fist class season was poor. Also shame his captaincy lasted less than one over, and shame he couldn't hit the last ball of the CT13 final for 6, and upgrade his status from unsung hero to proper legend.

    On Swanny, he isn't an all time great. But he has been battling it out for best spinner with Ajmal for the last few years, and atm I would say Ajmal is better.

    @Mohit- Harbhajan? Really?

    Chris Gayle best t20 player on the planet? Interesting topic of debate. I'd go with Shahid Afridi, because he is such a remarkable all-rounder.

    The idea of Trott lining up his pads is certainly believable.

  • on November 11, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    The amount of stick JT is taking here is unreal! As kingkarthik says, he's only going on who he has seen. He has clearly stuck to "traditional" off-spin bowling, which is why Murali hasn't been mentioned, as he is a wrist-spinner by technicality, and is in a category different to that of the traditional offie. Plus, it's his views, not yours, so why argue the case?

  • xtrafalgarx on November 11, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Look, Swann is a good bowler, but to mention him as the best above the greats as @Mohit says, is ridiculous because the list is long. Lance Gibbs the first guy to 300 wickets, Laker with the best figures in a test match, deadly underwood, Prasanna, Saqlain mushtaq, murali, even Ajmal these days is a bit naiive. Just becuase he is one of the best going around at the moment doesn't make him the best of all time.

  • Harlequin. on November 11, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    'The challenge is to make it as difficult as possible not to get smacked' - a bit of a double negative there Tredders!!

  • Nutcutlet on November 11, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    It's an unfair question to ask a modern cricketer vying for top international honours: 'Who is the greatest off-spinner whoever lived?' Unless JT is a student of the history of the game (and most current players are far too taken up with playing, improving their own skills & fitness-levels to do the necessary reading, given that they have a reading habit in the first place) he is unlikely to make a fully informed choice. And so, on that basis, his answer is entirely predictable. He does, however, mention players that predate him, but only going back so far - all of the modern era. As for Murali, was he an off-spinner? I have him down as a one-off, Like Jack Iverson, or, going further back, 'Dainty' (Bert) Ironmonger. The better question would have been: 'Who is the best off-spinner you've ever seen, or played against?' Which is, in effect, the question that JT actually answered!

  • Pinarsh255 on November 11, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    @kingkarthik, I think Murali was an exception. He was an off spinner in the sense he turned his stock ball from off to leg, but he was a wrist spinner. Mohit is right in mentioning the names. Saqulin and Ajmal are also worth mentioning.

  • shihan12 on November 11, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Can you even imagine off-spinners without great Muttaih Muralitharan??

  • kingkarthik on November 11, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @Mohit, the daddy of them all is the great Muttaih Muralitharan. I really cannot fathom how he is continuously disregarded. Perhaps he is not fashionable. Harbhajan Singh??? Really???

    Tredwell by his pick of players such as May, Mallet, Emburey, Hooper and Law is probably limited to his commentary based on the player who he has dealt in the county circuit.

  • Mohit_Suryawanshi on November 11, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Asked to mention the great off-spinners he doesn't mention the Daddy of them all, Lance Gibbs, Jim Laker, Erapalli Prasanna, Venkataraghavan, Harbhajan Singh. No..he mentions Tim May, Ashley Mallett, John Emburey??!!

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  • Mohit_Suryawanshi on November 11, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Asked to mention the great off-spinners he doesn't mention the Daddy of them all, Lance Gibbs, Jim Laker, Erapalli Prasanna, Venkataraghavan, Harbhajan Singh. No..he mentions Tim May, Ashley Mallett, John Emburey??!!

  • kingkarthik on November 11, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @Mohit, the daddy of them all is the great Muttaih Muralitharan. I really cannot fathom how he is continuously disregarded. Perhaps he is not fashionable. Harbhajan Singh??? Really???

    Tredwell by his pick of players such as May, Mallet, Emburey, Hooper and Law is probably limited to his commentary based on the player who he has dealt in the county circuit.

  • shihan12 on November 11, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Can you even imagine off-spinners without great Muttaih Muralitharan??

  • Pinarsh255 on November 11, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    @kingkarthik, I think Murali was an exception. He was an off spinner in the sense he turned his stock ball from off to leg, but he was a wrist spinner. Mohit is right in mentioning the names. Saqulin and Ajmal are also worth mentioning.

  • Nutcutlet on November 11, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    It's an unfair question to ask a modern cricketer vying for top international honours: 'Who is the greatest off-spinner whoever lived?' Unless JT is a student of the history of the game (and most current players are far too taken up with playing, improving their own skills & fitness-levels to do the necessary reading, given that they have a reading habit in the first place) he is unlikely to make a fully informed choice. And so, on that basis, his answer is entirely predictable. He does, however, mention players that predate him, but only going back so far - all of the modern era. As for Murali, was he an off-spinner? I have him down as a one-off, Like Jack Iverson, or, going further back, 'Dainty' (Bert) Ironmonger. The better question would have been: 'Who is the best off-spinner you've ever seen, or played against?' Which is, in effect, the question that JT actually answered!

  • Harlequin. on November 11, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    'The challenge is to make it as difficult as possible not to get smacked' - a bit of a double negative there Tredders!!

  • xtrafalgarx on November 11, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Look, Swann is a good bowler, but to mention him as the best above the greats as @Mohit says, is ridiculous because the list is long. Lance Gibbs the first guy to 300 wickets, Laker with the best figures in a test match, deadly underwood, Prasanna, Saqlain mushtaq, murali, even Ajmal these days is a bit naiive. Just becuase he is one of the best going around at the moment doesn't make him the best of all time.

  • on November 11, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    The amount of stick JT is taking here is unreal! As kingkarthik says, he's only going on who he has seen. He has clearly stuck to "traditional" off-spin bowling, which is why Murali hasn't been mentioned, as he is a wrist-spinner by technicality, and is in a category different to that of the traditional offie. Plus, it's his views, not yours, so why argue the case?

  • CodandChips on November 11, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    A good bowler. Considering he has played pretty much all of his ODIs in the last 2 years, and is constantly on the yo-yo, and considering he got crucified by the Aussies recently, his record is magnificent. Certainly an underrated ODI bowler. Shame his fist class season was poor. Also shame his captaincy lasted less than one over, and shame he couldn't hit the last ball of the CT13 final for 6, and upgrade his status from unsung hero to proper legend.

    On Swanny, he isn't an all time great. But he has been battling it out for best spinner with Ajmal for the last few years, and atm I would say Ajmal is better.

    @Mohit- Harbhajan? Really?

    Chris Gayle best t20 player on the planet? Interesting topic of debate. I'd go with Shahid Afridi, because he is such a remarkable all-rounder.

    The idea of Trott lining up his pads is certainly believable.

  • Cpt.Meanster on November 11, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Honestly, modern spinners are like sardines in a can. They are compressed into a tight schedule, made to bowl on unfriendly surfaces MOST of the time at batsmen with bigger bats, smaller boundaries and silly rules. So it is difficult to rate who was/is the best. Still, I feel Murali and Warne were the best spinners of the modern era; one an off-spinner and the other a leg-spinner. The rest are pretty mediocre and average. Saeed Ajmal is easily the next best spinner. Harbhajan Singh WAS good but he's pathetic now. So it would be silly to bring him up. Graeme Swann is an OKAY test bowler, but an ordinary ODI bowler. Sunil Narine is under used so I don't have much to say about him. Ashwin is really a batsman who can bowl off spin. Where does Tredwell fit here ? Unfortunately, he only features in England's ODI and T20 plans, and we all know how poor England are in limited overs cricket. Hence, that doesn't do justice to Tredwell. Personally, I think he's a good spinner.