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Swann withdrew from the Champions Trophy match against Australia when he woke up with a sore back and was withdrawn equally late from the team to play New Zealand on Sunday when he experienced tightness in his calf.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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
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
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
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