Ashes repeat spurs Chris Tremlett on

Paceman was vital to England's victory Down Under two years ago and, he tells Richard Edwards, he's eager for a couple more goes at the Aussies in 2013

It's Boxing Day 2010 and Chris Tremlett is preparing for the biggest test of his career. Outside the England changing rooms 100,000 raucous spectators are crammed into one of the most atmospheric grounds in world sport and are baying for English blood.

Just six days before, the Aussies had pulled level in a pulsating Ashes series, beating Andrew Strauss's men on a typical Perth pitch that had ruthlessly exploited England's shortcomings against fast bowling of the highest class.

That Test was Tremlett's first in over three years and his performance – he took 8 for 150 in the match – was one of the few bright spots of an otherwise dispiriting 267-run defeat.

As the team travelled to Melbourne the pressure was on. What happened next was truly remarkable as the hosts were skittled for just 98 – their lowest score against England for 42 years. Tremlett took 4 for 26, including the prize wicket of the Aussie captain, Ricky Ponting. The world, it seemed, was at his feet.

"I was more nervous for Melbourne than I was in Perth just because of the atmosphere," he says. "I had been there as 12th man for the one-day series there four years earlier and it was a pretty daunting experience just carrying the drinks.

"We won the toss and ran out in some pretty good conditions and bowled like a dream. It was awesome. I took four wickets but the thing that stands out the most is that when we came out to bat later that day the sun came out immediately – it was just the perfect day.

"Bowling in front of almost 100,000 people and helping bowl Australia out for under 100 was as close to perfect as you can get."

Forward-wind two years and Tremlett is once again in demolishing mood, only this time he's tackling a built-in wardrobe at the house he moved into at the tail-end of a miserable summer that ended in painfully familiar fashion in July.

He had returned to the Surrey line-up just weeks before, following back surgery on the disc injury that had forced him to fly home early from England's Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in January.

This time it was a knee injury coupled with a slight recurrence of back problems that curtailed the Hampshire-born bowler's season and once again left him on the sidelines looking on in frustration as England surrendered their No 1 world ranking to South Africa.

Now, after successful surgery in September, Tremlett is once again on the path to recovery and hoping that another Ashes year – and 2013 is a double Ashes year – brings a change of fortune.

"It was an unpleasant couple of months having sciatica in my back and not being able to get out of bed properly," he says. "It was a depressing time because you never know if that pain is ever going to go away. You do start asking yourself if you're ever going to be pain-free but I never thought that I couldn't do it [the rehabilitation] again because the experience of going through things like that in the past has made me stronger.

"It's just nice to pass the worst of it I guess, and hopefully my luck will change and things will start going in the right direction. I want to live a normal lifestyle again because over the last year it has just been rehab and no cricket, which gets very tedious."

That injury was the latest setback for a man who made his Test debut against India back in July 2007 but has never enjoyed a prolonged run in England colours as a result of the stresses and strains he places on his enormous 6ft 7in frame.

He stands a frustrating wicket short of his 50th Test scalp and is all too aware that it will be a year next month since his last international cap against Pakistan in Dubai.

"It has been a while since that Test but, to be honest, I know that if I'm at my best I offer something completely different," he says. "There's certainly a place for me there, in my eyes, and I know when I'm bowling well I'm as good as any of those guys. The most daunting thing for me is actually just getting back fit and bowling again.

"I didn't watch loads of the India series but I thought we bowled really well out there. Obviously, the spinners have done a great job and Jimmy [Anderson] bowled extremely well as did Steven Finn when he came into the side. I think we learnt pretty quickly out there."

The same could be said of Tremlett on an Ashes tour during which he emerged as one of the most outstanding bowlers in the global game. He finished that series Down Under with 17 wickets at a cost of just 23 apiece and capped off the most memorable winter imaginable by taking the wicket – bowling the spinner Michael Beer in Sydney – to seal England's first win in Australia since 1987.

Tremlett being mobbed by his team-mates after claiming that wicket remains one of the abiding images of the entire tour. "It doesn't seem that long ago, the time has flown by," he says. "That was the best time I've ever had in a cricket shirt. To cap it off with a win was awesome. Playing in an Ashes Test is what everyone plays cricket for. You want to play for your country but playing in the Ashes is just that little bit more special."

Tremlett began light training earlier this month and he will be trying to put an England recall to the back of his mind and instead focus on making an impact for Surrey when the county season begins in April.

Then he'll be out to prove that, despite being down, this Boxing Day hero is most definitely not out.

"There have been some dark moments but the memory of that success is driving me forward and giving me the motivation to try and bring that kind of success again.

"I would love to have another crack at the Australians and, hopefully, the sight of me at the start of my mark will bring back some painful memories for them. If I can get myself fit then I can give them another grilling."

Stats magic: Tremlett in numbers

2: Number of five-wicket Test hauls, against Australia and Sri Lanka.

49: Number of Test wickets from 11 matches, with an average of 26.75.

8 for 150: Best Test match bowling figures, against Australia in Dec 2010.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?