After the final afternoon at Cardiff, we wouldn’t have been surprised if Chris Tremlett had been exposed afterwards as Curtly Ambrose in a rather convincing latex mask such was the similarity between the two giants.
However, after seeing the action to date in the Rose Bowl Test, it appears that England bowling coach David Saker has done something much more impressive. He appears to have convinced Tremlett that he is an extremely potent weapon of mass destruction.
It is Saker who should take much of the credit for the stunning performances of Tremlett since he was recalled for the Perth Test prior to Christmas. In five-and-a-half Tests since, the Surrey giant has taken 32 wickets at an average 22.37 and has an impressive strike rate of a wicket every 43 balls.
Before Saker’s arrival, we doubt whether Tremlett was anywhere near contention for the Ashes squad. His reputation was as an injury prone, flaky under-achiever who didn’t have the temperament required for international cricket.
Indeed in 2008, Michael Vaughan had preferred to take a punt on Darren Pattinson – a bowler he had never seen in action – rather than Tremlett for the Headingley Test against South Africa.
This was despite Tremlett performing well against India the summer before in his first three Tests when he had the likes of Tendulkar and Dravid hopping around in the second innings at Trent Bridge.
Saker must have been astonished when he first encountered Tremlett (indeed as the video below shows, Saker was indeed astonished). Here was a 6 ft 8 in fast bowler with all the tools required to succeed on fast, bouncy Australian wickets. And yet he was nowhere near the England squad. Unlike the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, Saker had found an actual weapon of mass destruction in of all places leafy Surrey.
As it has transpired, Tremlett is like a fine wine who has taken time to mature and grow into his body. Whilst still a man of few words (just like Ambrose), Tremlett has cast off any accusations of flakiness and is now more of a silent assassin.
As we said, Tremlett is England’s weapon of mass destruction. Let’s just hope that the USA and Tony Blair don’t try to invade him.
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