An Interview with… James Tredwell

James Tredwell is fast becoming the Steve Harper or the Raymond van der Gouw of the England squad. Rarely called upon, always in the mix for selection but unlucky to be around at the same time as another great.

In Tredwell’s sparse England appearances, he has always taken wickets and done nothing to disgrace himself on the international scene despite his relative lack of experience at the highest level.

Today, he, along with 11 of his teammates, penned new deals at the St. Lawrence Ground, Tredwell committing his future to the club for a further two years.

I popped down on behalf of BBC Radio Kent to chat to him after his end of season fitness test…

Ben Croucher: James. Congratulations on the new contract…

James Tredwell: Thanks. It’s been a much better place to be around this year. We’ve shown improvement on the pitch. It was a pleasure for me to sign a new deal.

BC: Did you ever contemplate going elsewhere?

JT: There have been stages over the last couple of years when it wasn’t an overly pleasant place to be but I think deep down I’ve always been a Kent lad and a Kent player. I’m not ruling it out in the future but I still feel as though I am loyal to the club as they’ve been loyal to me throughout my career. I’m very happy at the moment.

BC: We saw Joe Denly leave last year to boost his England prospects. Is Kent still the best place for you to force England’s hand?

JT: I guess that’s always the consideration. I’m involved at the moment and I don’t want to slip out of that. There’s a guy in front of me at the moment so all I can do is concentrate on the performances here. They will still get noticed. I’ve been earmarked as a direct replacement for Swanny. At the moment I’m in the system. As long as my performances stay up to scratch, hopefully I’ll stay within that.

BC: With England touring over the winter, you’ve got to keep yourself in nick and on form…

JT: We saw that this summer getting the last minute call. If they get the opportunity to rest Swanny, he’s obviously a pivotal part of the team. They want him to play as much as he can but if they feel he needs a rest, hopefully I’m the person they call.

BC: But you didn’t get the call up for India. How disappointed were you?

JT: It’s part of the world you want to be touring as a spinner. I’ve been on a few tours and not played so that can get a bit monotonous at times. They only have a limited number of places. To take an extra spinner when they might not feature is a bit of a waste of time on everyone’s part. As long as  I keep trim, you never know.

BC: Do you actually get any time off now? Do you have to do anything different with that in mind?

JT: I have to keep on top of my fitness anyway. I’m not the kind of bloke who can just sit down and do nothing. Both mentally and physically I have to keep on top of things. I’ll have a rest from the cricket side for a couple of weeks.

BC: The thing that stands out from the contract announcements today is that next season will be nearly exactly the same squad as this season. How important is that?

JT: Very important. We’ve shown massive improvement this year. The people we’ve signed have been pivotal in that. I’m slightly disappointed we’ve lost a dependable bowler in Simon Cook, who all though didn’t play much is a dependable man to have around the squad. If something were to happen injury wise, he would have been the perfect replacement. We don’t know what irons are in the fire. We may get somebody else to replace him. I guess that depends on finances and who is available. It’s a great thing that the senior guys have commited their future to the club. There’s a few players who have come on in the last couple of years.

BC: What areas do Kent need to strengthen?

JT: Individually we’ll all say that we could have done better this year. Hopefully, if we make those improvements, hopefully we’ll be able to cross the line this time. We probably could have won three or four more games this year. We had a patch in the middle of the season where we should have beaten Hampshire, we should have beaten Derby away. The quality in the squad is good enough. The only thing is depth. If we were to suffer two injuries to our fast bowling unit, arguably there;s not much in the background. That’s the only area. It’s dependent on finances.

BC: Is the emergence of Adam Riley keeping you on your toes?

JT: Absolutely. That breeds a healthy position within the club and the team. If you’re comfortable in your position, sometimes you don’t perform to the best of your ability. To have those people coming up behind is good for everyone really.

BC: How much of a difference has Jimmy Adams made on the pitch?

JT: I think he’s added extra discipline. A lot of people before this year were reliant on talent and playing the way they wanted to play. This year, we’ve played the way we’ve needed to play for the situation. The change has fitted well with our group.

BC: How do you think England will fair in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka?

JT: It’s shaping up nicely at the moment. They’ve done alright in the first couple of warm up games. We never know until you get into the thick of it. They’ve got a very exciting group of young players. They’ve got as good a chance as anyone but Twenty20 can throw up some strange things. They are coming off a decent run of form. To go to a tournament as champions, confidence will be high.

BC: What have you made of Danny Briggs?

JT: He’s a very fine bowler in that form of the game? He’s obviously done fantastically for Hampshire over the last three seasons. He’s difficult to get away in all forms of one day cricket. I’m sure he’ll do well in Sri Lanka. The pitches may help him. He’s a very confident, feet-on-the-ground fella. He won’t be phased by the situation. I’m sure he’ll bowl well throughout the tournament.

BC: And finally, how did your fitness test go today.

JT: So-so. At the end of a long season, you always dread it. I’m in reasonable nick. Not too far off where I was at the start of the season.