Tremlett must step up the pace as Test competition intensifies

Chris Tremlett's bowling analysis looked neat enough without being especially memorable. His 10 overs in the ODI against New Zealand at Bristol cost 24 runs and he took one wicket – that of Scott Styris, New Zealand's most experienced performer, who was batting on a pitch England thought would be helpful.

Paul Collingwood sent New Zealand into bat, and brought on Tremlett first change after he observed James Anderson having a bad day, his first three overs costing 21. Anderson was bowling when Brendon McCullum smacked the ball, hoping to clear mid-off, but Kevin Pietersen leapt high to dismiss New Zealand's most potent weapon.

The advantage the pitch conferred on England was bounce. Stuart Broad used his 6ft 6in frame to force Jamie How into a poor shot when he misread the bounce. In tandem, Broad and Tremlett have a combined height of over 13 feet which, without even referringto Wisden, can be declared a record. They made New Zealand's batsmen earn their crust on a day – it was the longest day of the year – that was dark, dank and persistently threatened rain.

Styris had been at the crease for only six balls when Tremlett bowled slightly short of a length and astonished the batsman with a ball that rose sharply to shoulder height, nicked Styris' glove and gave a catch to the keeper. Broad was no less effective, bowling right through his 10-over spell and taking 2 for 14. But, as befits the return of the prodigal son, it was Tremlett who caught the eye.

He was being watched carefully from the press box by Geoff Miller, chairman of selectors, who will be asked to make a number of difficult decisions about England's fast bowlers. Tremlett is one of the nearly men whose name will be on the long list for the Tests against South Africa later in the summer.

Miller has three requirements for his fast bowlers: "They must be technically on top of their game; they need passion and heart; and they must exhibit mental strength." In the past, Tremlett has shown promise, especially against India last year but he has also been deficient, at one time or another, in the three essential virtues he identifies.

Tremlett limped home to Hampshire from New Zealand last winter; tours to India and Pakistan were missed; and he was not selected for last year's Sri Lanka tour. When he has played, his commitment has been faulted. In Australia in 2006 he was dropped after a lacklustre performance in the field.

Tremlett does not look fragile. He is broad-chested and slim-hipped with a strong face dominated by high cheekbones. And he is conscious of the criticism. He gets upset when critics say he does not care enough. "There's never been anything else I wanted to do," he says. His father Tim and his grandfather Maurice were both distinguished professional cricketers, and he has no wish to let the family down. "Sometimes it looks like I'm not trying. I guess it's the way I carry myself."

He thinks he is more aggressive than he once was: "I've gained a bit of pace," he says. But he still has to convince the selectors. "The ball's in his court now," says Miller.

In England's four-man attack against New Zealand, Ryan Sidebottom and Broad have exhibited Miller's three essential qualities in abundance. James Anderson has been unpredictable and wayward, as he was yesterday (his 10 overs cost 61 runs.) He must be about to join the nearly men.

The most interesting of these are the veterans. If they continue to improve, Stephen Harmison and Simon Jones may rediscover the confidence that helped win the Ashes in 2005. Miller remains cautious – of Jones, he says: "He is on the mend but he is not yet mended."

And Andrew Flintoff? No nearly man he, though he isstill one of seven fast men competing for a maximum of four places in the late summer Tests. Miller does not mind: "The more pressure, the better I like it," he says.

How gratifying to talk to someone in the England set-up who could see potential pluses during a very trying day.

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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future