Flower phone call gave Tredwell belief
James Tredwell, who was named in England's Test squad for their tour of Sri Lanka, has said that an end-of-season phone call from Andy Flower, the England team director, gave him the belief that he could earn an England recall. It was an ideal early birthday gift and Tredwell is determined to grasp the opportunity even though he could mix more drinks than bowl overs.
Tredwell, who was told of his call-up on the eve of his 30th birthday on Monday, is one of four spinners named in England's 16-man squad for the two-Test series, alongside incumbents Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar plus Samit Patel, the Nottinghamshire allrounder, who replaced Eoin Morgan. Tredwell last played for England at the 2011 World Cup and had seemingly drifted down the pecking order when Panesar was recalled for the series against Pakistan while young spinners, such as Scott Borthwick and Danny Briggs, were given chances in the one-day game.
"I had a call from Andy Flower at the end of the summer outlining England's plans and that I was still very much part of them," Tredwell told ESPNcricinfo. "That really drives you on if you know you are still in their thoughts. You know that if anything happens to the guys in possession you could get a call."
Tredwell has not required his fellow spinners to suffer an injury or loss of form to earn a place. Instead England's selectors have decided to give themselves cover for both Swann and Panesar. However, it will need one of those two - most likely Swann - to be ruled out of a Test for Tredwell to earn a second Test cap but that doesn't mean he won't be trying to put pressure on his team-mates in the lead up to the first match in Galle.
"I may be going just as cover, I'm not sure, but I'll certainly be going there to impress and get a game in my own right," he said. "Pakistan went in with three spinners and they did well in the series [in the UAE] so they [England] may be looking down that route."
Tredwell is also seen as a solid cricketer to call on at the last minute, which is the most likely scenario for backup players on tour, instead of throwing in the raw talent of one of the younger spinners who played on the various Lions tours and one-day series during the last few months.
"I'm a few years older and I've been through some highs and lows which stands you in good stead," Tredwell said. "It's great that those others have had a go in the one-day format but Test cricket is slightly different and they've gone for a slightly older man. I need to go out there and put my hat in the ring during practice."
Tredwell has had a curious international career to date with one Test, against Bangladesh in Dhaka, in which he took commendable match figures of 6 for 181 as a partner for Swann, and five one-day internationals. His previous England appearance came in a city he'll shortly be visiting again, Colombo, in the World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka where the hosts surged to victory by 10 wickets.
In the game before that Tredwell had produced his finest performance in an England shirt with 4 for 48 in the crunch group match against West Indies. It was his first game of the tournament - and he had yet to take an ODI wicket - but he claimed key top-order wickets, including Chris Gayle's, as England secured a nailbiting 18-run victory to keep themselves in the tournament for a few more days. It is a match still clear in Tredwell's memory and one that provides him with confidence.
"This recall was a little bit of a surprise, I guess, having not been involved during the winter, but equally having played last year and done well in my second last game at the World Cup the belief was still there that I can do it at that level. With the tours the way they were this winter I knew that something may crop up."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo