Tremlett's back injury puts England role on ice

Fragile fast bowler has to sit out practice session as latest niggle raises fears for his long-term future

Abu Dhabi

Among the masses of kit that England carry around with them they should pack an infinite supply of cotton wool balls. In these each night, and any time he was not playing, could be wrapped the fast bowler Chris Tremlett.

Not for the first time in his career, Tremlett was yesterday withdrawn from consideration for a Test team after his stiff back declined to loosen up in time for the second match of this series against Pakistan. Tremlett's giant, sculptured body has proved almost permanently fragile and this latest niggle raises doubts about his long-term future as an international fast bowler.

He has played only 11 Tests since being regularly 12th man in the 2005 Ashes series and the disappointment at his perennial absences must be compounded by the fact that he has usually been outstanding, with his 6ft 8in frame rolling rhythmically into the crease. Recalled after more than three years in the Ashes last winter, he played a key role in securing the series victory and took 17 wickets in three matches including the last of all at Sydney to confirm the 3-1 win.

Tremlett has taken 49 wickets at 26.76 since making his debut against India in 2007 and in only one innings – in the first Test of this series – has he failed to take a wicket. His injury woes around the England team began in late 2005 when he had to pull out of tours to Pakistan and India to have surgery on his hip and knee.

By last summer, it seemed at last that he was here to stay. But he sustained a hamstring injury at Lord's against India and then suffered a back spasm before the second Test at Trent Bridge which kept him out of the rest of the series.

His absence was not officially notified yesterday but since he spent England's practice session sitting rather uncomfortably on an ice box, the conclusion was easy to draw. Steve Finn bowled in the same net as Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad and it looked as if his Test career was set to resume.

England went into the match well aware that prising a victory in the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium to level the series at 1-1 would be the tallest of orders. The only two previous Tests on the ground have both been draws with only 54 of the available 80 wickets being taken.

This must have at least encouraged the England captain, Andrew Strauss, about his chances of making runs. With only one hundred in his last 42 Test innings and with his average heading south, he needs a substantial score.

Nobody should consider that his place in the team is remotely in doubt, or that his authority has been diminished one iota, but it is becoming an issue. Strauss seemed relaxed as usual during his pre-Test briefing yesterday and mused on combining the responsibilities of batting with those of captain, which have been around for as long as the game has been played.

"It can work both ways," he said. "You're obviously busier and you've got a lot of other things on your mind but sometimes that's not a bad thing as a batsman. Over-analysing your game and getting too concerned by technical worries or whatever can put you in a bad place mentally. But generally I've found being captain has helped my game and hopefully that'll continue to be the case."

Strauss still averages more than 40 since assuming the captaincy three years ago this month, but since the start of last summer it has fallen to 23. He is not about to restructure his game.

He said: "I think maybe when you're young and naive you're always looking for that magic answer so you'll be changing your technique, you'll be trying different things in the nets. I think when you're a bit older you realise the best thing to do is to keep everything the same, keep your preparation the same, don't have too many concerns about your technique and make sure you watch the ball.

"I think that's the best recipe for doing well but it's always a challenge mentally. Anyone who is under any illusion that Test match cricket gets any easier as you get older is wrong, it's always tough but I suppose that's why they call it Test cricket." Indeed they do, as England will rediscover over the next few days.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
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

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin