What's luck got to do with it?
Posted in England v West Indies 2012
Thirteen, they say, is unlucky for some. Clearly this is not the case for Tim Bresnan.
The England all-rounder today completed his 13th victory in his 13th Test and, if that was not enough, was man of the match to boot.
The 27-year-old Yorkshireman took eight wickets in a Test for the first time and made a game-changing 39 not out in his only innings of the nine-wicket triumph at Trent Bridge.
That and the five-wicket win at Lord’s - three years on from where Bresnan’s Test career began against the same opponents - sealed the Investec Test Series ahead of the Edgbaston finale.
Bresnan consequently appeared at the post-play press conference for a second straight day - this time alongside his man-of-the-match champagne (unopened, for the record) and Andrew Strauss.
Hot on the agenda today was the question of players being rested at Birmingham next week in preservation for the rest of the summer.
Bresnan, whose place as England’s third seamer behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad was questioned by some before this series, was asked if he might make way.
Following a pause and a glance at his captain, he quipped: “Probably not”, which brought chuckles from the assembled media.
Bresnan did give a serious answer to the question of rotation.
“It’s definitely a case-by-case basis,” he explained, echoing Strauss’ earlier response.
“From a personal point of view we’ve got five days off now, which is ample to recover from the last two weeks. I thoroughly expect to be fresh and available for selection.”
In the context of his perfect Test record, how could Bresnan be left out?
With West Indies fighting bravely in the first two Tests but coming up short in both, he has every chance of making it 14 wins from 14.
But Bresnan, while determined to keep his place, is not too bothered about maintaining his winning habit for its own sake.
“I don’t really pay much attention to the record or anything like that, but you guys seem to lap it up,” he said to the reporters.
That is just as well, as surely it cannot continue if Bresnan is to have the Test career his all-round talents suggest?
Should he play against South Africa later this summer and in India this winter, the record will be sternly tested.
Yet Bresnan has so far been equal to all challenges in cricket’s longest form.
In the last 18 months he has helped England win an Ashes series Down Under for the first time since 1986/87, whitewash then world number ones India last summer and secure a series draw with Sri Lanka last month.
As such, Bresnan’s record can no longer be put down principally to chance.
Besides talent, he brings nous to Strauss’ side as he reflected by explaining the approach that earned him four wickets in each innings at Nottingham.
“It’s one of those where you’ve got to hold your length and be as patient as you can,” he said.
“Hopefully when it is reversing you can kind of set them up, but that’s very difficult.
“It’s a case of just banging out your areas, that back of a length and very straight as on this pitch with the amount of lbws we got.”
Seven of England’s wickets at Trent Bridge were leg-before decisions.
Bresnan snared four of those, all in the second innings, en route to combined figures of 8-141 from 44 overs.
Each brought appropriate celebration, but nothing over the top.
After all, he said: “I prefer lucky charm to mascot. Like I’ve said before, mascots dress in silly outfits and do flick-flacks on the side of the pitch.”
In his 13th Test Bresnan was definitely in the heart of the action, and there was little to no luck about his returns.