Broad's Replacement - Tremlett, Bresnan Or Shahzad?
Australia v England - third Test, Perth, 16th-20th December, 02:30 GMT start
The loss of Stuart Broad is a huge dent in England’s hopes of retaining the Ashes down under. The pace bowler’s abdominal injury means he will miss the rest of the series against Australia, a massive blow to England’s chances of beating Australia.
So what about Broad’s replacement - he couldn’t have bigger shoes to fill as not only will England be losing one of their top seam bowlers, but probably the best batsmen in England’s ‘tail’.
After the final summer Test against Pakistan Broad proved that he is up there as one of the best number nines.
Scoring a personal best of 169, Broad showed touches of outstanding class and shots that legendary all-rounders such as Ian Botham would be proud of.
England have three possible replacements in Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett, none of whom have major experience in Test match cricket on the international stage.
Bresnan has been around the England set up the most in recent times, being part of the side that won the ICC World Twenty20, but has not established himself in the Test side.
Shahzad has only recently started to make an impression on the international scene and there is promise, but a lack of experience must put doubt in the selector’s minds.
Tremlett has been given a second chance after failing to be picked since his debut against India in 2007; however, not being in the One-Day International or Twenty20 England sides could work to his advantage.
Rumour has it that Tremlett is going to be given the nod to replace Broad in the third Test, over Shahzad and Bresnan.
One major advantage that the Surrey bowler has over the other two seamers is his height.
Tremlett stands at a towering 6ft 8 ins, giving him more pace and bounce, which is most likely to cause the Australian batsmen problems.
Memories of the Ashes in 2005 with Ricky Ponting’s cut cheek from a Steve Harmison bouncer come to mind.
That is exactly what England will look to Tremlett to do, to use his assets and rile up the Aussie batsmen, not let them get comfortable and in a rhythm.
The ground for the third Test, the WACA, is known for having a bit of grass on the wicket, giving the advantage to the seam bowlers.
England coach Andy Flower seems to think that the pitch will suit a bowler like Tremlett, who will be looking to get quite a lot of short balls into the Aussie’s ribs.
After speaking with the groundsman at the Wacca, Cameron Sutherland, Flower is confident that the track will be back to its best after England discovered an abnormally flat pitch in their warm up game against Western Australia.
"We talked about it with Cameron when we were here playing the three-day game, and he was a little disappointed with that pitch - it wasn't quite as quick as he thought it might be," he said.
"He indicated that he wanted to make it as quick and bouncy as possible for the Test match, which is really exciting for everyone. It gives everyone a chance, and makes for exciting cricket.”
Tremlett seems to have the advantage to be selected for his bowling, but with England being so dependent on their tail recently, how does his batting match up to Bresnan and Shahzad?
Bresnan is the most talented with the bat, hitting a maiden half century against Bangladesh in the summer, going onto to reach 91.
Bresnan has also proved he can score runs quickly being part of the winning side with Broad in the ICC World Twenty 20.
Shahzad came into the ODI and T20 side as a potential all rounder, impressing on the domestic scene, but he failed to impress with the bat for the national side.
His highest score for England in 2010 being a lowly five runs, Shahzad doesn’t look to be gripping the willow anytime soon.
So what will the England selectors go for, Tremlett’s superior bowling or Bresnan’s better batting prowess? One man who definitely thinks Tremlett should get the nod is his father, Tim Tremlett.
"He's a like-for-like replacement for Stuart in a way, being 6ft 8ins," he said. "But it all depends on the pitch because Perth has got a reputation for having a quick, bouncy wicket, so the selectors will weigh up all these things."
Tremlett is not without his fans, even former Australian spinner Shane Warne has been singing his praises.
"If the penny drops for Chris in the Ashes then he can be a world beater," is the legendary leg-spinner's assessment.
With his height, Tremlett should be able to generate the bounce that will get the Aussies worried and recreate the form that we first saw when he made his debut against India, claiming the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar.
Even though Tremlett has never shown his batting qualities for England, he has proved to be quite handy, reaching some impressive figures for Surrey.
The tall bowler high scored with 53 runs and finished with an average of 20.90 in 2010, which isn’t as impressive as Broad’s 27.40, but is still handy for a number nine.
Tremlett’s coach at Surrey, Chris Adams, believes that he is the right man to replace Broad at the WACA.
“Bresnan has bowled well and Shahzad is a fantastic talent but for this particular Test I would not look beyond Chris Tremlett to come in,’ said Adams.
“Because of his height if he plays on a pitch like that, he will cause all sorts of problems for the Aussies.”
Tremlett appears to be the favourite to replace Broad, mainly because the track will suit him better than Bresnan, who maybe would have been picked ahead if it was a batting pitch.
With two more Tests after the WACA, Tremlett cannot get complacent, as the matches at Melbourne and Sydney will be completely different.
So the Surrey seamer will have to go out and impress if he is stake his claim in this Ashes side, as Bresnan and Shahzad are on the edge of their seats ready to step right in and take his place.
Cricket World 2010