He won’t make many (indeed any) headlines for his figures of 10-1-51-1. He may never make a headline in his career. He certainly won’t ever break any long-standing records as James Anderson did at Edgbaston – he probably won’t break any short-standing records either. He is not even as good as the man he occasionally replaces in the England limited overs side, Graeme Swann. It struck me today however, how seamlessly James Tredwell slots into this England team.
Tredwell is boring. He looks boring. Even if he had hair I imagine it would be a short back’n’sides type affair, with not a hint of wax let alone bleach or colouring. He doesn’t spin it very much, but he spins it enough to avoid being one of those mystery spinners who don’t spin the ball but instead simply mysterious-ise batsmen out. He doesn’t have a great reputation as a lower-order pinch-hitter even if apparently he can hold a bat. I cannot recall seeing him run around much in the field but I imagine it is a slow, monotonous technique which just about does the job. He may well have tattoos, but if he does I imagine they would be small, understated tributes to loved ones. And I am completely fine with all that, because statistically Tredwell meets many of my requirements of a bowler in short format cricket.
“Tredders” has now played in 16 One Day Internationals, bowling his low key off-spin at a healthy average of 24.57 and economy rate of 4.76. Granted this is merely good rather than particularly ground-breaking stuff, but when considering his figures since re-emerging into the England side this time a year ago Tredwell has been a bit of a boring 31 year old revelation: his bowling average in his 10 matches since July 2012 falls to 19.95, his economy rate is less than 4.5 and his strike rate is 26. To put all that into perspective, Shane Warne’s ODI strike rate was 36, his economy rate was 4.25 and his average topped 25! Yes, I did just compare James Tredwell to Shane Warne.
So what does this mean? Probably nothing, as is usual with this blog. For me though, it means we have to seriously consider playing Tredwell even if Graeme Swann is fit. England like playing at least three seamers, and sometimes four. We have a myth we like to believe in that suggests we have a world class pack of hungry and consistent seamers, a battery of rotatable quicks on a par with the West Indies of the 1980s. We don’t. We have the excellent James Anderson and then the infuriatingly inconsistent pair of Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, the infuriatingly dire ten-trick pony Jade Dernbach, the consistently mundane Tim Bresnan, the odd youth prospect like Chris Woakes, and then maybe at a push Chris Tremlett; the hulking, skulking man-giant behemoth of the treatment room.
Perhaps that might seem a harsh portrayal of England’s strength; many other international sides would snap off their proverbial right arms for a bowler of the quality of Steven Finn to be coming through their ranks. However all it really states is that I feel England can rely on James Anderson to be pretty solid, and obviously they can rely on Graeme Swann when fit for a decent 10 overs too. The others…not so much. Which is precisely why Tredwell should play more one day cricket for England. Even if he is dull.