Tredwell emerges from the shadows
James Tredwell is standing squarely with the finger spinner’s union, and believes the precedent set by Graeme Swann means England can accommodate both of them in Bangladesh.
The 27-year-old Kent all-rounder has been identified as the back-up to leading off-spinner Swann, whose startling success in the last calendar year has prompted talk of a renaissance in the orthodox spin bowler in international cricket.
In the longer term, Tredwell has not abandoned hope of supplanting Swann as England’s first-choice pick.
But for now, he is content simply to convince the decision-makers he is ready for an international debut, having been summoned into the England squad in South Africa on the back of several steady appearances for the Lions and the Performance Programme.
“'Swanny' has shown himself that a finger-spinner can perform at the top level, as they have done for donkey’s years,” Tredwell told ecb.co.uk.
“His personality on and off the field is great. In the dressing room his camaraderie is great, and it can take the pressure off the guys in the field.
“And who knows what might happen? He’s going really well at the moment and I’m behind him (in the pecking order). Something would have to change in order for that to happen, but we’ll see.”
The rationale for picking Tredwell is obvious, not least for the 69 wickets he took for Kent in their charge back to the top flight of the LV= County Championship last year.
Ten wickets in Kent’s win over Northamptonshire, and a staggering second-innings haul of 8-66 against Glamorgan at Canterbury, demonstrated his ability to run through sides.
More than that, Tredwell has the off-spinner’s capacity to turn the ball away from the left-handed batsman.
And with Bangladesh’s top-order expected to feature around four southpaws - Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Imrul Kayes and Shakib Al Hasan for starters - Tredwell has been preferred to the sharp turning leg breaks of Adil Rashid.
“'Swanny' generally gets all the left-handers out, so I might not get a chance!,” Tredwell said of his chances in Bangladesh.
“But that’s certainly the perceived thought, that an off-spinner is a (greater) threat, turning the ball away from the bat.
“(The ball) can turn and take the outside edge to slip, or if it doesn’t turn it hits the inside edge (to short-leg). So there’s double the chance of beating the batsman.
“That’s something I’ll definitely try to exploit. But first my aim is to do the right things to get in the team.”
A full England side has never before played on the slow turners of Dhaka’s Shere-e-Bangla National Stadium and the Jahur Ahmed Chowdhury ground in Chittagong, but conditions would nonetheless be expected to suit slow bowlers.
Tredwell knows a fair bit about managing bowling attacks in the sub-continent, having captained the Lions on their tour of India in 2003-04 - the same winter that England last went to Bangladesh.
Yet on England's visit to the Gangetic delta six years ago, the spin of Ashley Giles and Gareth Batty accounted for just three of the 40 wickets taken in the two Tests, albeit on different grounds in Dhaka and Chittagong.
Wisden reported that Giles, England's leading spinner, had "gambled on a complete deconstruction of his bowling action" during that tour, which led to his startling success in the subsequent tour of Sri Lanka.
With Bangladesh a few years further down the road as a Test-playing nation, Tredwell expects things to be slightly different this time.
“I think when you go to that part of the world, spin always comes to the fore,” he reasoned.
“Equally, generally the weakness for sub-continental players in the past has been seen as the short delivery.
“I think there are potential weaknesses from all different angles, so hopefully wickets will turn and I’ll get to play.”
Before all that, Tredwell will have the opportunity to gain much-needed time in the middle for the Lions, who visit the United Arab Emirates prior to England’s arrival.
In matches against the UAE and Pakistan A, Tredwell can prove he is also a containing force in Twenty20 cricket.
He is scheduled to join up with the full England squad in Abu Dhabi on February 17. Incidentally, that is just in time for the ‘all-England’ Twenty20 clash between Paul Collingwood’s team and the Lions party led by Andrew Gale.
Who will Tredwell be playing for?
“I think I will feature in that game, it just depends which team I’m involved with," he said.
“I might not miss the (subsequent) Lions games, but if two spinners are required in the England games in Dubai, then obviously we’re in the same place and I could join up with the squad at that time.
“I’m just looking forward to playing some cricket. Having been in the squads all winter and not getting out in the middle, it can get a bit frustrating.
“The wickets weren’t conducive to two spinners in South Africa, and 'Swanny' was doing so well. But now I have to put some performances under my belt.”