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“We’re pretty clear who we’re going to pick”
England bowling coach David Saker has hinted that Chris Tremlett will be included in the Ashes squad as the third pace bowler behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Tremlett was thought to be the favourite after his two rivals, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin, failed to impress during England’s seven-wicket win over the Cricket Australia Invitational XI.
“I think we’re pretty clear in our minds where we’re going to go,” he said. “There’s a few more days to go. I’m not going to announce who’s going to play.
“But we’re confident where we are…we’re pretty clear who we’re going to pick, and we’ll go from there.”
However, Saker revealed that Finn and Rankin still have the chance to change the national selectors’ minds before the start of the first Test, which gets underway on November 21 in Brisbane.
“There probably is a chance that it would be up for grabs, but we’re pretty clear,” he said. “If someone wants to jump the queue, they’ve got a couple of days to do that.”
But, whoever gets the green light will be under immense pressure to take wickets as a weak performance could dent England’s chances of winning their fourth Ashes series in a row, a feat which they have not accomplished since the 1890s.
“Teams might target certain players on our team, but we pride ourselves as a group to do the job really well,” Saker said. “I know as a bowling group we’ll put pressure on them. If they do want to come after our bowlers, good luck to them – if they’re good enough to do that.
“But if they’re doing that, there’s a good chance we’ll get some chances.”
Saker also took the opportunity to speak about pace bowler Tim Bresnan, who is still recovering from a lower back stress fracture, but is expected to be fully fit by the time the second Ashes Test gets underway on December 5 in Adelaide.
“He’s going along really well, so we really hope he’s ready for the second Test,” Saker said. “We think he will be. That’s in the medical department’s hands – but he’s making some really good progress.
“He’s bowling at 100 percent in the nets now. We’ve just got to get some overs into him so we’re confident that he can get through five days. He’ll most likely play in that Alice Springs game.”
Bresnan picked up 10 wickets at a brilliant average of 29.60 in the last Ashes series before succumbing to his injury in the fourth Test in Durham.
“He’s a reliable cricketer, a fantastic cricketer for us,” Saker said. “Whether it weakens our team [to be without him], it’s debatable – but he’s a very dependable player with the bat and the ball.
“He does a great job for us, and he’s very understated. So it’s always a shame that he’s not available for selection. But looking down the line, he’s going to be available and again add pressure to positions.”