By Glen Robertson
Tim Tremlett will have two players to keep a close eye on when he flies out for the Ashes series.
Hampshire’s director of cricket is heading Down Under over the Christmas period to watch as England bid to win the Ashes for the fourth consecutive time.
He hopes to witness his son, Chris, excel as he did in the 2010-11 series, when he replaced the injured Stuart Broad for the third Test at Perth and went on to take 17 wickets in that and the following two matches as England won in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
But there is another member of the party whose success this winter would give Tremlett senior immense satisfaction: Hampshire batsman Michael Carberry.
Appearing in an Ashes tour for the first time, the 33-year-old impressed in the opening tour match against a Western Australia Chairman’s XI, scoring 78 as the match was drawn.
His performance will ensure regular openers Alastair Cook and Joe Root are kept on their toes, while it also puts him in the frame for any openings in the middle order.
And Tim Tremlett has backed the Croydon-born batsman to grasp any chances that come his way in Australia.
“He's done extremely well; he's been consistent for Hampshire for a while now and with his selection for the one-day series against Australia towards the end of the season and now this he's going from strength to strength,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“There's a long way to go until the first Test match but he can only do his best at every opportunity that he gets and hopefully he will be in the first match at Perth.”
The former medium-pace bowler, who took over 700 wickets in all formats of the game during a long career with the south-coast county, does not believe that Carberry’s age leaves him at a disadvantage.
He is the third-oldest member of the squad, behind Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen, and is a full 10 years older than Root, who he opened with at the WACA last week.
But Tremlett is quick to stress that age is not a hindrance in Test cricket, citing an example from the summer’s series in England.
“You look at the Australian Chris Rogers,” argued Tremlett. “He came in and did well and he's a bit older (36) than Michael.
“If you're good enough it doesn't matter how old you are. If you're good enough and playing well, some kind of opportunity will come.”
And if a chance does arise for Carberry to strut his stuff on the biggest of stages, it can only mean good things for the people of Hampshire.
“It's always good that you've got extra interests if you've got a Hampshire player in the England side. It creates a bit of extra interest, not only for the juniors, but the members and supporters who come along and watch Michael during the course of a summer,” said Tremlett.
As for his son, Tremlett junior faces stiff competition for one of the bowling spots in the side. It remains to be seen if Cook will have a four or a five-man attack at his disposal in Brisbane when the series gets under way.
Whichever it is, Chris Tremlett will have to jump to the front of the queue of the six-foot-seven-plus seamers, with Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn also desperate to impress.
His dad is aware of the task that awaits his son and stresses that hard work is the key to ensure a spot in the starting XI for that first Test.
He said: “He’s got strong opposition this time, a lot of tall fast bowlers. You’ve got the experience of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who are more than likely to play in the first Test match, so there’s probably one bowling slot available.
“There’s a lot of competition and they all have to step up. But hopefully we’ll have Chris and Michael in the team.”