James Tredwell has revealed how an end-of-summer call from Andy Flower, the England team director, helped to convince him that his Test career was not destined to be over after just a solitary appearance.
Kent’s off-spinning all-rounder received the perfect 30th birthday present this week when his name was included in a 16-man England squad for the short tour to Sri Lanka in March and April. Andrew Strauss’s England team are due to play two Tests in Galle and Colombo, plus two three-day warm-up matches.
“It certainly makes turning 30 a bit sweeter,” said Tredwell. “My birthday was on Monday and the team was announced on Tuesday morning but I myself knew on the Sunday morning that I was to be called up.
“People might be surprised, as I haven’t figured in the Test squad since my only cap in Bangladesh in early 2010, but Andy Flower actually rang me up at the end of last season to tell me that I was still very much in England’s thinking and outlining to me what I had to do to get back in.
“That phone call from Andy was certainly a tremendous fillip to me, coming when it did, and it has really pushed me on in terms of my training and fitness work this winter. Having been away, either with England or with the Performance Programme squad or the Lions for the past few winters, it has been good to spend the last six months reassessing my game and working hard on it and my fitness levels.
“I’ve done a lot of work especially with Pete Kelly, the new fitness and conditioning coach at Kent, and that has been really good for me. It’s also been nice to spend a bit of extra time at home with my young family.”
Tredwell took six wickets and scored 37 in his only Test, in Dhaka, and has also largely impressed in his five one-day international appearances – the last of which was at the 2011 World Cup. He has clearly been selected predominantly as cover for Graeme Swann, but is understandably travelling to Sri Lanka expecting to play some cricket.
“England look as if they want to play two frontline spinners in the Tests, and obviously Swann and Panesar are the first choice combination after their success in the recent Pakistan Test series in the UAE,” added Tredwell.
“Both Samit Patel and myself have been included in the squad to give the management some other options, as well as to provide cover, but anything can happen – whether it be injury, illness or whatever – and I’ve got to be ready to play. And, of course, I want to play.”
Tredwell is one of seven players – headed by skipper Strauss and also including the likes of Ian Bell, Matt Prior – who will head out to Sri Lanka under new batting coach Graham Gooch on March 5, a week before the rest of the squad arrive in Colombo.
“It will be good to get going early, because acclimatisation in Sri Lanka is very important and I also need to get in some bowling outside,” he said “The ball won’t bounce out there quite as much as it does in the Canterbury indoor school!”