Goober no more

Chris Tremlett admitted to having a few nerves prior to bowling his first ball in a Test match for three years.

6 deliveries later, after softening Phil Hughes up with a couple of short balls, he had the newly-recalled 22-year-old playing all round a fuller delivery that removed the bail from his off stump. Australia were 2-1, after all of ten minutes.

Tremlett says he felt better after that.

From then on, the nerviness was to be all Australia’s.

There’s something immensely satisfying in seeing a talented player come back from the wilderness. Clashes of personalities; changes in coach, selectors or both; a bad or erroneous first impression that sticks: there are many reasons why players are discarded, or not given a chance at all to prove their mettle in the international arena. Often, talent is not enough.

Chris Tremlett arrived at Surrey in January on the back of three years in the international wilderness and a decade at Hampshire dogged increasingly by injury, staleness and a low, slow Rose Bowl wicket that gave his height and pace no assistance.

He has also had to put up with criticisms of not being hard enough, of not getting in the batsman’s face, of being too nice by half. “Gentle giant” is a term that gets applied to him a lot. So, until he moved to Surrey, was the nickname Goober, bestowed on him by then-teammate Dimitri Mascarenhas in reference to what was perceived as lumbering, dorkish timidity.

Shane Warne seems to have run out of patience with him at Hampshire, and while Tremlett admits the move to Surrey was necessary to help him mature and take him out of his comfort zone, it would seem that the man-management of a bowler good enough to take the wickets of India’s galacticos back in 2007 went awry somewhere down the line.

England bowling coach David Saker says he kept close track of the rumblings coming out of Surrey: the swiftly-increasing momentum of Tremlett’s renaissance. Entrusted by manager Chris Adams with leading Surrey’s attack and with a blanket ban on the use of that Hampshire nickname, Tremlett repaid his new county with 48 wickets, including a ferocious 4-32 in a county match against Sussex in August on a green Guildford wicket.

Today, he completed his journey back as the pick of the England bowlers with 3-63 to help limit Australia to a below-par total of 268. Bowling with menace and aggression, his consistently tight line and length did for Michael Clarke and Steve Smith, both batsmen wafting weakly outside off stump and edging fuller deliveries to keeper and first slip respectively.

Andrew Strauss’s decision to bowl first and make the most of the seaming conditions, as well as to play Tremlett, are signs of a new aggressive England.

Belated tail-end biffing from Johnson, Siddle and Hilfenhaus aside, only Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin once again made anything like respectable scores. By the end of the day the WACA pitch had flattened out considerably under the broiling Perth sun, and England will be looking to bat Australia out of the game and retain the urn.

Chris Tremlett may find it harder to take wickets the second time around, but surely after what he has done today he deserves an extended run in this England side.

At 6ft 7 inches he is most certainly a giant, but today Australia found him anything but gentle.

2 Responses to “Goober no more”

  1. Jimmy says:

    It really was an impressive spell of bowling and he certainly wasn’t timid in how he took Hughes out. Great use of the short ball, which for a guy of his height should be one of his big weapons

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Narendra Lowanshi, legsidefilth. legsidefilth said: BlogSideFilth: Goober no more #cricket #Ashes #Eng #Aus […]

Leave a Reply