England a confident unit under Flower: Tremlett
He may not have ended up with a bagful of wickets, but Chris Tremlett's thrilling battle with Sachin Tendulkar was one of the talking points of the first Test at Lord's.
Tendulkar eventually fell to Stuart Broad, but had a tough time negotiating the extra bounce and swing of Tremlett. The 29-year-old pacer claimed four wickets in the match, and played a key role in England's crushing 196-run victory over India.
But disaster struck soon after; Tremlett was forced to miss the next match with a back injury, and doubts continue over his participation in the third Test, beginning Wednesday.
Tremlett, who made his Test debut against India in 2007, says he is a much improved bowler now and relishes the prospect of bowling to greats like Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.
In an interview with Harish Kotian, England's pace sensation admits his frustration on missing the action in the Trent Bridge Test because of injury and also throws light on how England have become one of the top sides in Test cricket.
You were in pretty good form in the first Test at Lord's and troubled all the Indian batsmen with your extra bounce and movement. How disappointing was it to miss the second Test with injury after such a good start to the series?
Obviously, it was extremely frustrating. I had a good match at Lord's and then this injury ruled me out of the second Test. But I am trying not to be too down about it; I am looking to stay positive and get back in the team for the third Test.
What is your current injury status? Are you fit to take the field for the third Test at Birmingham?
It is coming good each day. I am in the squad for the third Test and will take a fitness test before the game on Thursday. But I feel pretty good, and I feel a lot better than I was just keeping my fingers crossed that it will hold up for Thursday.
The injury is not very serious and I am hoping that my back injury will improve in time for the third Test. The training sessions in the next couple of days will give me a chance to see if I am fit enough to play the match.
Image: Chris Tremlett
Photographs: Getty Images
Bresnan has been impressive
England is a side brimming with confidence at the moment. Your replacement, Tim Bresnan, came into the team for the last Test and starred with a wonderful all-round showing. How difficult is it to break into the England squad, which has such a strong bench strength at the moment?
It is a good thing. Tim Bresnan played such a big part in the Ashes, but, unfortunately, after that he got injured at the start of the season, which allowed me to come into the side. Steve Finn is also such a good bowler, but even he can't get into the side. The competition is fierce and you can't relax. But it is a good sign for England that when someone gets injured, the other guys can come in and do well.
Did you enjoy your battle with Sachin Tendulkar in the first Test, at Lord's? Have you noticed any chinks in Tendulkar's armoury, because you guys have not allowed him to play a big knock so far?
I did enjoy the battle with him. I didn't get him out, but I hope my contribution in the bowling unit was instrumental in getting him out. He hit me for a couple of fours, but I also had my moments.
He is a great player, but playing against top guys helps you to judge your game as to how good you are. As a bowling unit, we have done quite well in the last two Tests against India and we hope to continue for the rest of the series.
Image: Tim Bresnan
Dravid has shown great consistency
Looking at the Indian line-up, has Rahul Dravid been the most difficult batsman from the Indian side?
It has been frustrating sometimes. He has been so solid in the first two Tests. I played against him four years ago and it was difficult to get him out even then. After all, he is known as 'The Wall', and he has proved that by what he has achieved over the years. He is a great player and he has shown great consistency for so many years now.
England is just one victory away from taking over the No. 1 ranking in Test cricket. How big a motivation is it for the current England, who, many believe, is one of the best sides to represent the country in a long time?
I think motivation comes naturally to the guys when they go out in the middle every time. The stepping stone has been there for a while to get to number one. It started off after the Ashes victory and now we are leading 2-0 against the best Test side in the world.
But you got to be careful not to look too far ahead and just focus on the game, because we know, if we win it, we will be the number one Test side.
Image: Rahul Dravid
'I'm a better bowler now than in 2007'
What sort of a role has coach Andy Flower played in England's success in Test cricket in the last couple of years?
He has played a huge role for England. Under him, England have become a very confident and relaxed unit. Everyone gets along very well, the communication is good and, overall, the dressing room has become a very good place to be. We are winning matches and getting to our ultimate aim to be the number one side in the world.
How much has England's bowling improved under bowling coach David Saker?
David keeps it pretty simple. Obviously, he has got a good bunch of guys to work with. He has got it right with a lot of his plans and how he has executed them. He has a positive approach and has managed to keep us a fit bowling unit. One of the key things that David is making sure is that everyone is bowling well and bowling as a unit.
You made your international debut in 2007. How would you compare your bowling between then and now?
I am more consistent now; I am stronger as far as my body is concerned. I am very positive off the pitch and I enjoy the challenges. I have realized the difference between bowling well and bowling fast, and that put together, I think, I am a much better bowler now than in 2007.
Image: Chris Tremlett