He’s the reigning Sheffield Shield player-of-the-year, has taken the most wickets in that arena in the past three seasons, has flourished on lifeless wickets recently and was Australia A’s best-performed quick in India, but Chris Tremain was still left out of the new-look Test squad for next month’s tour of the UAE.
With injuries to Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, considering his recent efforts the 2008-09 Orange District Cricket Association MVP looked an all but certain starter for the two-Test series against Pakistan if he impressed in India.
He did that, with six scalps at 22 he was the second leading wicket-taker behind only spinner John Holland and once again proved his ability on listless wickets similar to those Australia will face in the UAE, but still he was overlooked.
Fellow Victorian Pete Siddle has been given the chance to resurrect his thought-to-be-dead Test career and his selection adds a welcome experience boost while Queenslander Micheal Neser was named too, after also snaring six wickets in India but at the slightly higher average of 24.16.
The bolter in the attack is another Queenslander in Brendan Doggett, who was named after battling somewhat in India, his four wickets costing 49.75 apiece.
“Brendan gets an opportunity… perhaps as a back-up to Mitchell Starc. He’s a bit quicker than a lot of the other bowlers around the country at the moment,” new Australian coach Justin Langer, in his first series in the role, said.
While the Central Western Daily wasn’t able to contact Tremain in the aftermath of selections, he’s long been an advocate of the ‘perform and let selections take care of themselves’ train of thought.
Although he performed in India and that selection didn’t eventuate, following day three of the second tour match he said he’s not taking anything for granted as it is.
After all, he never really thought he’d be in the position he’s in now although, he did make the comments before missing out on the side.
"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,” he told ESPN, moments after leaving the field at Alur.
With Hazlewood and Cummins’ injuries along with Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft’s suspensions, Langer and his fellow selectors had an unenviable job selecting the squad for this series.
As he said, there was always going to be an element of inexperience in both batting and bowling stakes, that’s largely why Siddle has been picked.
“I’m really excited for Peter Siddle … he’s in career-best form (and) he’s an awesome Australian. He’ll be brilliant for our young bowling group,” Langer said.
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“I’ll never promise or predict results but I do know we’ll be really well-prepared, we’ve picked a side of excellent young blokes, really good cricketers… and we’ll certainly compete. It’s a really good squad, really pleased.”
While Tremain’s omission was surprising, most consider fellow Victorian Glenn Maxwell being left out downright mind-boggling, even former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting labelled it “bizarre”.
Maxwell, who averaged more than 50 in the Sheffield Shield last season and has runs on the board in the subcontinent too, was actually left out of the Australia A tour to India, which most saw as an indication he would be included for the Pakistan series although he wasn’t given any guarantees.
Even he, after being told he wasn’t touring India, admitted he’d walked away from that discussion confident in his standing before, ironically as he was wearing his baggy green for a photo-shoot, fielding a dreaded phone call from chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.
With Maxwell and Peter Handscomb left out too, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Aaron Finch are all in line to debut in the first Test.