Tredwell not surprised by recall

Sri Lanka England

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James Tredwell & Graeme Swann

James Tredwell will be a reserve off-spinner for Graeme Swann in Sri Lanka, a role he is thrilled to occupy. “It’s very flattering," he said

James Tredwell knew he was in England’s plans for a winter that featured three tours to the spin-friendly pitches of Asia.

The Kent slow bowler, who turned 30 yesterday, received a phone call from England team director Andy Flower at the end of last season telling him so.

Tredwell was not required for England’s first two trips - a limited-overs series in India and a three-format showdown with Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates - but is part of a 16-man squad for two Tests in Sri Lanka.

His one Test cap came in Bangladesh two years ago and he also featured in the Commonwealth Bank Series and World Cup during the second half of last winter.

Flower’s contact and previous experience meant he had not given up on selection this time.

“I had kept hoping at the back of my mind that I might get an England call,” Tredwell, who made his England debut in a one-day international in Bangladesh during the same month as his Test bow, told ecb.co.uk.

“I spoke to Andy Flower at the start of the winter, who told me I was still in England’s plans. He phoned me to keep me in the picture.”

The good news was an early birthday present, which he had to keep under his hat as much as possible for 48 hours.

“I found out on Sunday morning. I got a call at 8.30am, quite an early start for a Sunday,” he revealed.

“I had to tell Kent, who are leaving for a pre-season tour a week today, so they could get a replacement for me. I also told a few close family members but it wasn’t too difficult otherwise keeping it to myself.”

Andrew Strauss & James Tredwell

Despite his last trip to Sri Lanka being for a World Cup quarter-final loss, Tredwell told ecb.co.uk: "I’m looking forward to going again."

Flower yesterday explained that Tredwell is a back-up for Graeme Swann for the Tests, which are three days apart.

Tredwell is delighted to be thought of as England’s second-best off-spinner, with Swann ranked sixth in the International Cricket Council’s Test bowling table.

“It’s very flattering to be considered England’s second best off-spinner after Swanny. He’s had a fantastic few years for England,” Tredwell said. “Obviously I hope he stays fit, but if another Test chance came my way I’d be thrilled.”

Tredwell, one of seven squad members to fly to Sri Lanka ahead of the rest of the party for extra preparation, was Kent’s leading LV= County Championship wicket-taker last year with 42 in 12 games.

Although he has spent the off-season at home, the 30-year-old is raring to go should he be asked to add to the six Test wickets he took at Dhaka.

“I certainly feel ready for action,” he enthused. “I had a break for a couple of months after last season and, having spent the last few winters away from home, it’s been nice to spend this one at home. But I feel in good shape from pre-season training, although being indoors isn’t the same as training outside.”

Tredwell’s last visit to Sri Lanka was ultimately an unhappy one, bowling six overs in a devastating 10-wicket defeat to the hosts at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium.

He will not face Sri Lanka there this time - the first Test is in Galle and the second at Colombo’s P Sara Oval - and cannot wait to return despite bad recent memories of the country.

“Aside from last year’s World Cup quarter-final in Colombo, I went on an under-16 tour to Sri Lanka,” he said. “It’s a fantastic country so I’m looking forward to going again.”

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