Cricket: James Tredwell prepared to bide time behind high-flying Swann

James Tredwell has long had to pick up the scraps of international cricket left for him by Graeme Swann – but he is well aware there are less glamorous ways to make a living.

The Kent and England off-spinner may win his sixth one-day international cap at Chester-le-Street today, with Swann prescribed a short break to rest his sore right elbow for the remainder of the NatWest Series.

For Tredwell, called into the squad for the final two matches as England seek to build on their 2-0 lead over Australia, it is a rare opportunity to show England’s selectors and supporters what he can do.

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It is 16 months since the last of his ODI appearances in England’s ten-wicket World Cup quarter-final defeat against Sri Lanka in Colombo, but just a week earlier he had taken a career-best four for 48 as he and Swann combined to secure a place in the knockout stages with a thrilling 18-run win over West Indies in Chennai.

Such has been Swann’s pre-eminence as England’s frontline off-spinner that Tredwell’s chances are inevitably rationed. The selectors have continued to demonstrate he is second in line by calling him into Test and ODI squads, while Tredwell has resolved to simply keep trying his best and count his blessings.

“You try to emulate Graeme Swann, but he is the man in possession,” he said. “All the time he is doing really well it is going to be tough to push him out.

“It is slightly difficult, but you have to enjoy where you are. If I wasn’t a cricketer, I might be a dustman or something. Every day is a bonus really.”

In any case, Tredwell is comfortable with the fact that it should never be easy to claim a place in a team currently top of the International Cricket Council rankings in two formats and pushing Australia hard in the third.

“You are going to come up against that day in and day out, whether 
you are a seamer, wicketkeeper or 
whatever,” he added. “It would be 
nice to get more of a chance. But all 
the time he [Swann] is doing well, it’s great for the team and great for English cricket.

“Once you have had a taste of international cricket you want more. If there is someone in front of you, you have got to try to do better than them to get in the side more regularly.

“I certainly think you work a little bit harder, try new things. Maybe that has helped Swanny as well, to have somebody else behind him, pushing him. That drives you day in, day out.”

At least there is only one person keeping Tredwell out, meaning he will be in the reckoning for high-profile fixtures, such as the three Tests with South Africa this summer, if Swann’s injury keeps him out longer term.

“You don’t want to wish injury on anyone, but it could happen to anyone throughout the XI,” he said. “It only takes a little niggle and somebody else gets a go. If you do well in that go, who knows? You might stay in and around the team.”

In the meantime, all the 30-year-old can do is keep pressing and take his chance if it does come. “I guess it’s unfortunate, sport is like that,” Tredwell added.

“I just have to try to do all I can in the domestic game to try to stay in and around the set-up. Who knows, I might get a game here and there. If I put in performances, you never know.”