On a day when England's bowling stocks looked mighty good with a return to wicket-taking (11 of the suckers!) form for Jimmy Anderson and a very decent performance from Steven Finn, Chris Tremlett nevertheless gave a further prod on Friday to the England selectors with four wickets in Middlesex's first innings at Lord's.
Tremlett has been a revelation since signing for Surrey in the winter, my only concern was his fitness record but since missing the first few games of the season he's been virtually ever present. Through the Twenty20 Cup group stage he was far and away our stand out bowler and barely put a foot wrong, he ended with 24 wickets and was the leading England-qualified fast bowler in the group stage of the competition.
He's also played the small matter of seven four day matches - only once in the last four years has he played more than that and there's still six matches left in the competition. 25 wickets at 23 apiece have been the result and I don't think anyone would begrudge him putting the worst of his injury days behind him.
So, does all that mean he should be considered for the Ashes tour starting in November? Graham Onions is more or less out for the season which makes his selection unlikely and surely Steve Harmison's England days are over, which leaves probably five fast bowling slots to be filled. Anderson, Broad and Finn are nailed on you would think, which leaves two places for the likes of Shahzad, Bresnan, Sidebottom and the outsiders like Woakes, possibly James Harris of Glamorgan and our man Tremlett.
Shahzad has proved useful when selected and his ability to produce movement with the old ball make him an attractive proposition. I don't think Bresnan will play because Flower and Strauss seem set on a four man attack, but given previous selections he seems well placed to take the final slot. However, I would suggest one of Woakes, Harris or best of all Tremlett would be a better selection.
Lets face it, the wickets/conditions in Australia aren't going to have the ball going round corners. That ball by the way, will be the Kookaburra, which is widely acknowledged to swing for perhaps just 10 overs, far less than the Dukes ball wielded by James Anderson to much destructive effect over the last few days. We therefore need someone who can extract batsmen from the crease with pace and bounce. Steve Finn and Broad, on their day, can do just that and Tremlett is another.
Finn, Broad and Anderson is going to be the fast bowling attack come the first test in Brisbane, that much is pretty nailed on. I can see Shahzad being taken for his pace and ability to produce reverse swing, and Tremlett should be the final man for his awkward bounce (and no little pace to match). He is also pretty handy with the bat, as his thrashed fifty yesterday showed, not to mention the fact that he's scored 50% more sixes in the Championship than any other Surrey player and is fourth in our batting averages (more a reflection on some pretty average performances by our batsmen frankly!).
They won't take him of course, they will go for Sidebottom or Bresnan, both in my opinion inferior bowlers less likely to thrive in the conditions. All Tremlett can do is stay fit and continue to take wickets until the end of the season and force the selectors to look at him. There's my two pennies, don't blame me if it all goes wrong!
Update: The issue most people have with Tremlett is his attitude, or lack of it. People have said in the past that he is too prone to dropping his shoulders, and for a man of his size perhaps he ought to impose himself on the opposition more. However I think we should not under estimate the impact an Ashes tour might have on Tremlett, it might just be the making of the man, and we'll never know until we try!
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