The Ashes: James Tredwell ready to be the understudy for England's penultimate act

 

England may test the world supplies of cotton wool in which to wrap their key players before the Ashes. While their desire to win the Champions Trophy should not be underestimated they are anxiously aware of their tasks later in the summer.

Thus, the likelihood is that Graeme Swann will miss his third match of the tournament when England play their semi-final. In his case, influential though he is, they have become almost sanguine when he is missing from their one-day side. The risk of playing him given the looming assignments is greater than the risk of not playing him. James Tredwell, his limited-overs understudy, has made that call much easier to make.

England would not like to enter the fray against Australia without Swann, the most accomplished and incisive of all modern orthodox off-spinners. But when Tredwell takes over from him in the one-day side the patchwork is almost impossible to see.

In the win against New Zealand on Sunday, which confirmed England's place in the last four, Tredwell again bowled his rolling off-spin with skill and maturity. To concede 27 runs off four overs when the slog was on was a typically worthy effort. "I think I'm pretty lucky really," said Tredwell yesterday, reflecting on his role as an eternal second string. "I've played for my country and continue to be involved in the environment.

"Obviously it would be nice if Swanny wasn't around, I might get a few more opportunities. But equally to be compared to someone like him and the record he's got is a pretty proud achievement in its own right."

Tredwell has played 17 ODIs, usually as a replacement for Swann, though they have appeared three times in the same team, as they did in his solitary Test in Bangladesh three years ago. He has taken 26 wickets at 25.62 compared to Swann's 104 at 27.77.

Swann withdrew from the Champions Trophy match against Australia when he woke up with a sore back and was withdrawn equally late from the team to play New Zealand on Sunday when he experienced tightness in his calf.

In neither case was it more than a niggle but England are adhering to a strict policy that involves a delicate balancing act. Victory in the Champions Trophy was the first of their three major objectives this year – twin Ashes victories being the others – but it will not be done at the expense of what follows. As a result Tredwell had virtually no notice.

"If you prepare right before every game you're obviously physically prepared in terms of bowling in the nets and things like that," he said. "I guess, yes, it is a bit of a struggle if you don't know you're playing from one day to the next but it's one of those things you have to come up against and tackle it when it arrives. I've done okay so far, though, dealing with that." The wrap them in cotton wool policy was one reason the decision was made early that Kevin Pietersen would not be part of the squad for the competition. He is making his long-scheduled return for Surrey in the County Championship at Headingley on Friday.

In his characteristic fashion, Swann told anybody prepared to listen yesterday that he would be fit for the semi-final. But players' personal opinions may not be canvassed too widely at present. There is a feeling in the camp that they are ready for anything after progressing in a week that started with one of their players being hit by an opponent in a late-night bar, went on to see the team being accused of ball tampering and concluded with a must-win game that was ultimately closer than it should have been.

They went for a drink after the 10 run defeat of New Zealand on Sunday night, though it is understood they stayed clear of the Cardiff branch of the Walkabout bar. It was in its Birmingham establishment eight days earlier that Joe Root was punched by the Australian batsman, David Warner.

Tredwell said: "Obviously the eye is firmly on us now. I think the lads understand they've got to be careful, and although it's an important thing for a team to celebrate we don't want more things coming up on the team because that could be damaging."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor