Image courtesy of: The Telegraph
“This might be my last chance. I do view it as a now or never situation”
England pace bowler Chris Tremlett has admitted that he faces “a now or never situation” after being included in the national team’s Ashes squad for their tour of Australia in November.
Despite only taking 32 wickets in this year’s County Championship with Surrey, Tremlett was named in the squad due to his cracking performance on Australian pitches three years ago.
However, since that time, Tremlett has struggled to regain any form whatsoever and he acknowledged that this could be his “last chance” to impress the national selectors.
“I am not getting any younger,” the 32-year-old said. “So this might be my last chance. I do view it as a now or never situation.
“If I get another injury that might be it. It would be hard to go through what I’ve gone through again. If I got another stress fracture or if my back went again I am not sure I could go through another year of rehab. I’ve done enough rehab in my career.”
Prior to the 2010-11 Ashes series, many pundits and former players pointed out that Tremlett was lazy, but the lanky pace bowler revealed that proving his critics wrong is his biggest motivational tool.
“There are always people that talk about my injuries and say I don’t care enough or I don’t want it enough,” Tremlett said. “That’s another thing that motivates me. It’s always nice to come back and prove certain people wrong. It something I get a bit of a buzz from: proving people wrong. People say you’re not good enough, and you come back and perform. That’s motivation in itself to do well and to keep working hard. All those things keep you going.”
Even though his county figures may not have played a part in his selection, Tremlett feels as if he had an instant impact on bowling coach David Saker while bowling in the nets.
“My numbers might not be amazing this year,” Tremlett said, “but it’s not always just about stats. I know that is what generally people go on, but it’s about how you are bowling as well.
“In the last two months of the season, I felt I was bowling near to my best. At the start of the season, I found it pretty tough finding my feet again. It’s not been easy to get back and anyone will tell you, the pitches at The Oval have offered nothing to tall fast bowlers. I’m not making excuses, but the ball doesn’t really bounce. Even when we’ve played away, we’ve played on some very flat pitches.
“In terms of pace, there were days when I was getting up there. I don’t think I’ve ever really found 90mph, I would say my average speed is probably around 85mph on a good day, pushing high-80s.
“But the England team management were in touch reasonably early. That was good in itself, to know they were still thinking about me. Then they asked me to go and train at Lord’s and bowl at the guys in the nets. I bowled pretty well. My numbers might not be amazing this year, but I certainly feel that I’ve progressed during the season after a torrid time with injury.
“When I go back to 2010, David Saker asked me to have a net here at The Oval just to have a look at me. That was my chance to really impress him. That net got me on the Ashes tour last time. It was about six weeks before the tour. Kevin Pietersen was having a bat and Saker wanted to see me bowl as he hadn’t seen me before. I’m pretty sure that was the moment he saw something in me. People didn’t think I would be picked but I was picked ahead of Ajmal Shahzad, who I think was originally going to go.
“Saker is someone who has always seen something in me, he’s always backed me every time I’ve been in the England side and he knows what I can do. He knows it’s not just about my height. He knows the skills I have as well.”
Tremlett is now hoping that Australia prepare pace-friendly wickets as he believes it will benefit England’s towering pace attack, which consists of himself, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin.
“Obviously, they’re worried about the ball spinning for Graeme Swann, as he is such a big weapon for the England side,” Tremlett said. “So that might play into our hands. Any tall bowler wants bounce and carry in the wicket and we’ve got Stuart Broad, myself, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin.
“I did well there last time, which is I’m sure one of the reasons I’m going again. I’ve been to Australia a few times, and I know how to take wickets over there. It’s taking my experience over there and trying to replicate what I did three years ago. I was delighted to get the call and hopefully I can repay the selectors’ faith by playing well and taking wickets again.”