Bresnan enjoys fruits of his labour
Tim Bresnan’s breakthrough series in Bangladesh was no fluke, but the result of a carefully considered new mode of attack, his county coach has revealed.
Bresnan was only parachuted into England’s Test squad when misfortune befell other seamers, yet the 25-year-old took his opportunity with such gusto that he is now being seriously discussed as an all-round option in the longest form of the game.
Perhaps most impressive was Bresnan’s ability to conjure wickets on surfaces that offered him next to no assistance.
He will surely never forget the pearler that castled a rampant Tamim Iqbal in the first Test in Chittagong.
Martyn Moxon, director of professional cricket at Yorkshire, puts his success down to an attacking wicket-to-wicket delivery that forced Bangladesh's batsmen to play at the ball.
“When Brezzy gets close to the stumps in the longer form of the game, he is a very good bowler,” Moxon told ecb.co.uk at Headingley Carnegie.
“He’s got good pace, he’s quicker than people think and hits the bat hard. He has that ability to swing the ball both ways as well.
“The danger with Brez is that sometimes he comes wider on the crease and the angles don’t help him in terms of bowling people out. That’s very economical but not so good for wicket-taking.
“When he’s in the correct position, closer to the stumps, he can move the ball away from the right-handers and becomes a real threat.
“I think he’s doing that at the moment and the results speak for themselves.”
Those stats, for the record, were seven wickets in 83 overs in the two Tests - more than any England bowler aside from Graeme Swann.
It all seems a far cry from Bresnan’s tough Test baptism 11 months ago against West Indies.
Passed over altogether in the first innings at Lord’s, Bresnan went wicketless for 24 overs until sealing England’s victory in the second Test at Chester-le-Street with three wickets.
At the very least, the jury remained out. For those who had sought to “pigeonhole” him, in his own words, it was evidence that Bresnan simply was not up to it.
The argument ran that this burly, fun-loving lad from Pontefract was merely an honest tryer; a bits-and-pieces cricketer lacking the invention to crack the top level.
And while Bresnan will never lose his ear for a joke, England's latest tour has revealed that inside lies a more fertile cricketing mind than he is given credit for.
Even his quip that he and Stuart Broad were partaking in a competition to see who could move the ball off the seam most, underlines the variations he was willing to experiment with in search of success - and that without the guidance of a bowling coach.
Moxon agrees with his leading seamer that he had a point to prove to the doubters, while stressing that the next few momths will offer sterner tests.
He added: “We’re delighted he did well in Bangladesh, and maybe showed a few critics that he’s better than they thought at the time. His challenge now is to continue to perform.
“Although he’s been around a long time, he’s starting to mature now and his best years are ahead of him.”
Bresnan came in well down the order in his early forays in international cricket. But just as the new ball has brought out the best in him, the responsibility of batting at number seven yielded 91 in only his second Test innings.
If things do not go so well for Bresnan, he may rue his decision to advance down the track to Abdur Razzak on the penultimate day of the series, nine short of a maiden Test century.
But Moxon suspects there is more to come on that front.
“Oh, he’s handy with the bat,” said Moxon. “He’s scored a couple of hundreds for us and showed in that innings that he can stick around.
“Brez is confident at the moment. He’s enjoying his cricket - and Brez enjoying his cricket is a good place to be.
“He really has a desire to become a regular international cricketer.”
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