SURREY bowler Chris Tremlett hopes he can play a part for England in this year’s back-to-back Ashes series after making good progress towards full fitness.
The 6ft 7in paceman was a major part of England’s series success Down Under in 2010/11, taking 17 wickets in three Tests at an average of 23.35.
He has played only five Tests since, the most recent coming last January before he required surgery on back and knee injuries.
He has stepped up his rehabilitation since a call from England team director Andy Flower in December.
He was able to travel to South Africa this week as part of a fast bowling training camp overseen by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s lead fast bowling coach Kevin Shine.
‘‘I hope that by the end of the two weeks I will be bowling off my full run at full intensity,’’ said Tremlett, 31.
‘‘I’m aiming on bowling four to eight overs every other day.
‘‘The rehab before Christmas was tough. I spent a lot of time on my own in the gym. I wasn’t able to bowl then, it was just drills and there was only so much you could do each day.
‘‘In the past six weeks I’ve made a big jump forward.
There’s no pain now and I’ve got to as high intensity as I can in indoor conditions.’’ England’s 2013 schedule features a return home series against New Zealand, where the one-day team are currently in action with three Tests to follow, then the visit of Australia for five Tests in July and August before England travel Down Under.
Injuries and squad rotation should mean opportunities for several fast bowlers during that time and Tremlett is hopeful of being among them.
He said: ‘‘It’s unfortunate that the injuries came along when I was bowling well but that makes me think I can get back to that sort of form when I return.
‘‘I never doubted I would get back and with a lot of Tests coming up it is likely someone will go down injured at some point. I know I offer something different.’’ Joe Root has earned an England incremental contract after appearing in the first one-day international against New Zealand.
The Yorkshire batsman, 22, has played one Test against India, in which he made 73, six one-day internationals with a batting average of 54.75, and two Twenty20 internationals, taking him past the 20-point threshold to earn a contract.
National selector Geoff Miller said: ‘‘Congratulations to Joe Root who has made his international debut in all three formats in a short period of time and has made important contributions for England this winter.’’