Tremain focuses on how to take wickets in trying conditions

Varun Shetty in Alur4 Minute Read
Chris Tremain goes up in appealGetty Images

Chris Tremain is likely to make the trip to UAE next month, but the fast bowler isn't thinking too much about selection as Australia A head into the last day of a long India tour. As far as Tremain is concerned, he is already representing his country in a Test in Alur, in the outskirts of Bengaluru.

"If I have a look around, I'm already representing my country. I'm here for my country, playing international cricket. I'd never imagined I'd be a professional cricketer, let alone playing for my country," Tremain said at the end of the third day in Alur. "I wouldn't say I'm content, I'm happy with what I'm doing. We let everything else - wickets, and runs and selection - deal with themselves. Because if you front up every day and play the game you want to play it, then they do generally take care of themselves."

In an interview with SEN Radio before embarking on the tour, Tremain said he had been to India twice before - where he was part of both the one-day and the four-day squads for Australia A - and that on both occasions, he had been violently ill.

"The best bit of advice I got was to just cop it and roll with it. You're going to get sick and just do the best you can to get by," Tremain had said. "I've never played on wickets like it and things like the climate are all going to play a big factor."

It's been a couple of months since that conversation, and having just finished what could be his last substantial spell of the tour, Tremain has found the conditions surprising - to the point that after both the four-day games, he couldn't help but mention the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"I said in the last game that the wicket at Chinnaswamy was similar to the one we have at MCG, I'd say this one's even more so. The MCG lately has been slow, flat, not very conducive to bowl quick on, and there's been a lot of toiling to get rewards.

"This one's been a bit similar. The only difference is at Chinnaswamy it cracked up and there were a few demons that came into play. From crease to crease, it's MCG stuff. I haven't found it too different. I've had a lot of seasons bowling at MCG and it's been quite similar. Funnily enough, we get a lot more assistance over here. Like balls shooting through or even a little bit of spin."

And like he did last season for Victoria, Tremain has led the Australian bowling attack in these barren conditions. The numbers (four wickets in three innings) aren't as prolific as his 51 wickets in 10 games - the best in the Sheffield Shield last year - but they're close to his last two matches at MCG, where he took five wickets in four innings. Aside from Mohammed Siraj, who used reverse-swing to great effect during an 11-wicket haul in the first game, Tremain has looked far and out the best seamer in the series across both sides.

Tremain has been able to hit consistent spots and as such been Mitchell Marsh's go-to man, whether in defence like in Alur, or in attack, when he and Brendan Doggett combined to torment India A's batsmen with a well-engineered short-ball strategy during the first Test.

One of the reasons for that is that unlike the visits before this one, Tremain hasn't had too much of a workload on this tour. In a first innings of 144 overs, Tremain bowled only 17, despite being the most successful bowler with figures of 3 for 41. And before the four-dayers, he only played in one 50-overs game.

"It's been a long series but not so much on the playing front. We spent a lot of time in Vijayawada sitting around not doing too much because of the rain. Then, a lot of transitioning between Vijayawada to Hyderabad to Bangalore. [For the one-dayers] we had essentially our first white-ball bowling line-up here which got a good run and rightfully so. Now with the opportunity to play in these four-dayers, it's been different, it's been challenging. It's been the Indian team in their backyard, and a way of pushing for national selection."

With that being the case, it stands to reason that there hasn't been too much experimenting going on, and there hasn't been time to think deeply about skill. Instead, Tremain said, the entire team's focus has been on tactics rather than picking up new tools.

"There's always a sort of a teething period at the start of every season, and we're going through that now. I think each time I've bowled I've got better and better, rhythm's got better, bit of energy on that ball that's changed.

"Think the only thing I need to adapt is how I'm going to take wickets in trying conditions at the right time. With the soft ball on good wickets, how am I going to get them out.

"And it's not just me, the entire team's had this conversation. And if we get put in that position when we get back to Australia, then hopefully this experience will aid us in making the right choices."