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James Tredwell on captaining England, bowling alongside Graeme Swann, and walking like a penguin
Interview by Jack Wilson
November 11, 2013
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.
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?
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.
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