When one door closes, another opens – it’s that old adage about opportunity.
Seems like there’s a lot of doors at Cricket Australia, just not a lot of opportunity.
For years Sheffield Shield cricketers have been banging on the door of international selection, all-but demanding to be picked, but no one seems to answer.
They’re either knocking on the wrong door, or nobody’s home. Sorry, no opportunity here.
Matthew Elliot, Michael Di Venuto, Martin Love, Stuart Law, Jimmy Maher, Jamie Cox – there’s 117,000 first class runs in that batting order. There’s also just 27 Test match appearances.
At first class level, Martin Love belted 16,952 runs, with a high score of 300 not out, at an average of 49.85.
What we would give for a bit of Martin Lloyd Love at the top of the order now.
By and large, it’s the same story with the bowlers.
Andy Bichel is without doubt the luckless pace bowler of the last generation. He played just 19 Tests, despite claiming 430 shield scalps.
Bichel would have perfected the ideal cordial ratio at drinks though.
So, you have to wonder, how long does Chris Tremain have to bang down the selectors’ door to earn a shot in the Australian Test side?
The big quick, who took out the Orange District Cricket Association player of the year award in 2008-09 while terrorising Orange batman as a student at Kinross, has been giving Sheffield Shield bats plenty of grief over the course of the last three summers.
He’s oozed consistency when those around him – at all levels, basically – are renowned as being hit-and-miss while also, somewhat remarkably, the Yeoval-born tearaway has generated menace out of a life-less pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Again and again and again.
In just over 50 first class matches, most of which have seen him toil away on a MCG deck that has been widely ridiculed as being dull, Tremain has 204 wickets at 23.68. He’s take eight five-wicket hauls and 10 in a match once.
This year, he sits second on the leading wicket-taker lists behind Victoria teammate Scott Boland. Tremain has 28 wickets at 23.60 this summer.
(Tremain) understands selection is subjective ... that’s just part and parcel of living life on the fringes.Renegades coach Andrew McDonald on Test contender Chris Tremain.
Last summer, again, Tremain was the stand-out bowler in the shield, crashing through that 50-wicket glass ceiling to amass 51 scalps at a touch over 21 a piece.
And the year before that?
Tremain was again in the upper echelon of fast bowlers in the country, taking 42 wickets at under 19 to sit third on the list. Chad Sayers topped the wicket-takers board in 2016-17 with the hugely impressive total of 62 scalps.
Sayers, too, battled to get into the Test side.
Sure, he made Australia squads, but the South Australian swing bowler was forced to bide his time carrying the drinks while the likes of Starc, Hazlewood and, at that time, Peter Siddle went to work.
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The man who won his debut Test cap against Sri Lanka last week, Jhye Richardson, to be fair, has been super impressive and his whippy action caused the visitors plenty of trouble at the Gabba last weekend.
Richardson has taken 27 wickets for WA this summer too – he’s deserved a shot.
But so too, surely, has Tremain?
Numbers mean everything in cricket. Anyone with a bat and a an old two-piece at home will tell you that.
When someone’s new to town and they rock up at training for the first time and rattle off an inflated average, the first thing you do is look them up on MyCricket.
If Bradman is God, the SCG most definitely the Vatican and stats, good or bad, well stats are without question the gospel.
So, based on that, you’d have to think Tremain comes in to the fold when one of either Hazlewood, Starc or Cummins is out, for whatever reason that may be.
The last three Sheffield Shield seasons for the Yeoval product:
- 2018-19: 28 wickets; Av 23.60; S/R 44.5; Best 5-13.
- 2017-18: 51 wickets; Av 21.07; S/R 41.1; Best 7-82.
- 2016-17: 42 wickets; Av 18.97; S/R 42.3; Best 4-22.
Tremain has fallen behind Richardson in that pecking order now though, and where Siddle, who was also included in the squad for the Sri Lanka series, sits is anyone’s guess.
Tremain, right now, isn’t getting a lot of cricket.
The shield is in hiatus while the Big Bash League circus is in full-swing, and the Melbourne-based Tremain isn’t getting a gig with his franchise, the Renegades.
He’s, as Renegades coach Andrew McDonald said in a recent interview, “living life on the fringes”.
And that can be tough – just ask Andy Bichel.
“[Tremain is] pretty philosophical about things. He understands selection is subjective,” McDonald said.
“That’s just part and parcel of living life on the fringes.”
As subjective as it maybe, surely selectors don’t go back to the Siddle well before they give a bloke like Tremain a go?
Siddle’s hat-trick at the Gabba was memorable, sure, but one hot day doesn’t make a summer, as they say.
Who knows though.
Maybe Siddle knows which door is the right one to knock on?
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