England’s day of The Pylons

THE selection of the 6ft 7in Chris Tremlett for the tour of Australia is a sound move, and England could field the tallest seam-bowling attack yet to hit Down Under if James Anderson were to be injured in the Ashes series.

Tremlett could be drafted in to join Stuart Broad, only an inch shorter, and the lofty Steve Finn casting shadows in the evening with the floodlight pylons. Since his move from Hampshire to Surrey, Tremlett has confirmed much of his promise as a very good cricketer and he deserves a proper chance.

One alternative would have been to take the youthful Yorkshire fast-bowler Ajmal Shahzad, but this would have been too risky in view of Finn’s inexperience. With Tremlett on board as back-up, England’s bowling looks especially potent, and when Graeme Swann’s world class off-spin is added into the mix, a first series win in Australia since 1986/87 looks very much on the cards.

Ladbrokes actually make Australia slight favourites at 4/6 on to win the series, with England 9/4 against. Swann is evens to be England’s top wicket-taker ahead of Anderson, at 3/1. Andrew Strauss, the captain, is 7/2 to be the top run scorer ahead of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott at 4/1. David Williams, of Ladbrokes, commented: “It’s 24 years since the last England series victory against the Aussies on home soil, so it’s no surprise they’re slight favourites. England are in great form, though, and it’s likely the Barmy Army will heavily back the boys in the coming weeks as they fully expect England to right the wrongs of 2006/7.”

The England selectors named a 16-man tour party at the Brit Oval, recalling Tremlett and the Sussex left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. The Yorkshire leg-spin all-rounder Adil Rashid, 22, has been give a rest from all international duty, though he is a high-quality player who will feature in due course.

Tremlett, 29, won the last of his three Test caps against India in 2007, though he did tour of New Zealand in 2008. His sheer size has made him injury-prone in the past, and his apparent ‘softness’ has been distorted a little in the media. Panesar will probably have few opportunities for those cavorting celebrations at taking a wicket until Sydney, when two spinners might well be chosen, but he had a successful season for Sussex with 52 first class wickets and nips in ahead of James Tredwell.

The selectors listed 11 players to be awarded 12-month England central contracts, with Jonathan Trott and Finn winning a central contract for the first time. A further five players have been awarded incremental contracts.

England also announced the 16-man England Performance Programme squad, who will be based in Australia in the lead up to the first Test in Brisbane through until the start of the third Test in Perth. Michael Carberry, Craig Kieswetter, Shahzad and Tredwell, all with senior England exerience over the past 12 months, are among those included. New faces include all-rounder Ben Stokes and left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, successes in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early this year.

Commenting on the selections, ECB national selector, Geoff Miller, said: “We believe we’ve selected an outstanding Test squad for what will be a fiercely contested Ashes series in Australia. In order to retain the Ashes we will need to play to a very high level and we believe we’ve selected a squad to do just that.

“Clearly there are always difficult decisions to make when selecting an England squad and this Ashes squad was no different. We feel that Chris Tremlett’s inclusion will add a real threat of pace and bounce to our bowling attack given the conditions in Australia. Chris will be vying for a place in the final team amongst a confident attack including James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn.”

The England Performance Programme will be based in Brisbane from Nov 13 where they will play a four-day match against a Queensland XI (Nov 25-28) before relocating to Perth on Nov 29 to play a Western Australia XI (Dec 7-10). The party will remain in Perth for the lead-up to the third Test before departing for the UK on Dec 16.

David Parsons, ECB Performance Director, said: “The time spent at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and Australia allows our national lead coaches to work intensively with the players and assess their readiness to graduate to the full England side when the opportunity arises. It has been very pleasing to see the likes of Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan, Steven Finn and Steven Davies who have all spent time on the programme in recent years, go on to play important roles for England.”

England Test squad in Australia

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex, capt)

Alastair Cook (Essex)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)

Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood (Durham)

Steven Davies (Surrey,wkt)

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)

Monty Panesar (Sussex)

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)

Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt)

Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

Chris Tremlett (Surrey)

Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

Tour Itinerary 2010-11

Nov 5-7: v Western Australia, WACA, Perth

Nov 11-13: v South Australia, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Nov 17-20: v Australia A, Bellerive Oval, Hobart

Nov 25-29: 1st Ashes Test v Australia, Gabba, Brisbane

Dec 3-7: 2nd Ashes Test v Australia, Adelaide

Dec 10-12: v Victoria, Melbourne

Cricket Ground, Melbourne

Dec 16-20: 3rd Ashes Test v Australia, Perth

Dec 26-30: 4th Ashes Test v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 3-7: 5th Ashes Test v Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

Jan 10: v Prime Minister’s XI, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Jan 12: 1st T20 v Australia, Adelaide

Jan 14: 2nd T20 v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 16: 1st ODI v Australia, Melbourne

Jan 21: 2nd ODI v Australia, Hobart

Jan 23: 3rd ODI v Australia, Sydney

Jan 26: 4th ODI v Australia, Adelaide

Jan 30: 5th ODI v Australia, Brisbane

Feb 2: 6th ODI v Australia, Sydney

Feb 6: 7th ODI v Australia, Perth

England Performance Programme squad

Jimmy Adams (Hampshire)

Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)

Danny Briggs (Hampshire)

Michael Carberry (Hampshire)

Maurice Chambers (Essex)

Jade Dernbach (Surrey)

Andrew Gale (Yorkshire)

James Hildreth (Somerset)

Craig Kieswetter (Somerset)

Adam Lyth (Yorkshire)

Liam Plunkett (Durham)

Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire)

Ben Stokes (Durham)

James Taylor (Leicestershire)

James Tredwell (Kent)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

England Central Contracts

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex)

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Ian Bell (Warwickshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Paul Collingwood (Durham)

Alastair Cook (Essex)

Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)

Matt Prior (Sussex)

Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire)

Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)

Incremental Contracts

Ravi Bopara (Essex)

Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)

Luke Wright (Sussex)

Michael Yardy (Sussex)

Ladbrokes odds

Ashes outright

Australia 4/6

England 9/4

Drawn series 9/2

Australia  to win by:   England

20/1        5-0           100/1

16/1        4-0             66/1

12/1        4-1             40/1

16/1        3-0             50/1

6/1          3-1             12/1

10/1        3-2             12/1

25/1        2-0             66/1

8/1          2-1             10/1

50/1        1-0              66/1

Drawn series

0-0 125/1

1-1 20/1

2-2 6/1

Top England series run scorer

A Strauss 7/2

K Pietersen 4/1

J Trott 4/1

A Cook 5/1

P Collingwood 7/1

I Bell 7/1

E Morgan 12/1

M Prior 16/1

S Davies 33/1

S Broad 100/1

G Swann 200/1

T Bresnan 200/1

Top England series wicket-taker

G Swann Evens

J Anderson 3/1

S Broad 4/1

S Finn 4/1

C Tremlett 16/1

T Bresnan 16/1

M Panesar 20/1

P Collingwood 50/1

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