Ashes 2013: Keep it quiet - England can rise again to world No 2

All they have to do is avoid losing final Ashes Test, in which Tremlett could be a key player

Cricket Correspondent

Right on cue the International Cricket Council stuck its nose into Ashes business yesterday. Such interventions are as welcome as those folk from outside Yorkshire or Lancashire who seek to become involved in the Roses and are usually advised: “It’s nowt to do wi’ thee.”

The ICC announced that England are on the verge of moving up to second in the world Test rankings. A win or a draw in the fifth Test against Australia, which starts tomorrow, will take them above India, though still leaving them about the length of the river Limpopo behind South Africa.

It may seem a reasonable goal to have – not least because a top four place is needed for entry into the World Test Championship in 2017 – but it is where the trouble started for England a couple of years ago. They were looking in splendid fettle then, if anything slicker than they are at present, winners of the Ashes away and taking all before them at home. This form took them all the way to No 1 in the ICC rankings, which seemed to become something of an obsession. Before they knew it they were being thrashed by Pakistan away and South Africa at home.

England will not make that mistake again despite the ICC’s enticing message yesterday. They must concentrate only on the immediate task at hand, which is winning a fourth match in a home Ashes series for the first time.

Twice before in modern times they have had the opportunity, only to be held to draws at The Oval on both occasions, in 1977 and 1981. This Australia squad is beginning to look more vulnerable than either of those predecessors simply because they have continually been usurped after creating promising positions.

England will be forced to make one change in their side, with Tim Bresnan out because of a stress fracture in his lower back, and are expected to introduce their 13th player of the series. Chris Tremlett should be asked to resume a much-interrupted Test career, which began in 2007 but has brought only 11 appearances.

He has missed 67 Tests, mostly through a litany of injuries which have involved long periods of rehabilitation. A career of, say, 50 appearances would have been much more in keeping with his talents.

Playing a record which has revolved round the turntable many times before, Tremlett said yesterday: “I’ve had a lot of time out through injury and it’s taken time to find my rhythm again and get back into shape. With my injuries, I don’t look too far ahead. I’m just looking forward to this week. I’d love to be involved again in Oz – it was a great experience last time – but it’s about the Test coming up, not going to Oz.”

This will be the third and almost certainly the final phase of Tremlett’s international career. He made his initial foray in the summer of 2007 and immediately caught the eye at Trent Bridge, where he made India work for their win with some blistering bounce. Injury was soon to intervene and it was a long road back to the Ashes in Australia in 2010-11. Perhaps only a chance encounter with England’s new bowling coach, David Saker, ensured that he was restored.

Saker, who knows exactly what he is looking for in a fast bowler, immediately liked what he saw: accuracy, sufficient pace and disconcerting bounce from a decent length. Tremlett made significant incursions into Australia’s batting in the last Ashes series in the three matches he played and bowled the ball that clinched the series at Sydney.

But it was all too good to be true. A year later his 6ft 8in, sculpted frame let him down again in the UAE and this recovery has been arduous. This epitome of a gentle giant has learnt to accept it.

“It was the motivation of the end goal: trying to get back playing for England and still believing I could do,” he said. “It’s always frustrating to go out of the team due to injury rather than a lack of form and that’s been the case throughout my England career. But it’s always driven me on to keep trying and I’ve always believed I can compete at that level. That motivation has always kept me going, even though I’ve had some dark and testing times coming back from injury. Sitting here now, I’m in a pretty good place again.”

 



Tremlett has gradually picked up the tempo this summer and England have included him in three of their Test squads. Saker still likes what he sees.

“The start of the season was tough, finding rhythm and getting match overs back into my legs,” Tremlett said. “As the season has gone on, the better I’ve bowled. My figures might not suggest that on paper, but the last three or four Championship games I’ve played in I’ve been up near my best.”

For England it is about a little more than this week at The Oval. They have Tremlett and his bounce firmly in mind for their defence of the Ashes this winter.

“Over in Oz the wickets were more conducive to my back-of-a-length-style bowling,” he said. “Over here I pitch it up a bit more. But in Test cricket you always have that back-of-length ball in your armoury.”

This was probably not music to the ears of Australia, who confirmed yesterday that the promising pace bowler Pat Cummins will miss the return Ashes series owing to a recurrence of his back problems.

Whatever happens this week the tourists drop to fifth in the rankings, according to the ICC. But then it’s nowt to do wi’ them, Cobber.

News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home