Former Australian seamer Chris Tremain has rediscovered his career-best form, claiming his best Sheffield Shield figures in three years.
Chris Tremain has rediscovered his career-best form in the Sheffield Shield, with the New South Wales paceman claiming the ninth five-wicket haul of his first-class career against Tasmania at the SCG.
After the Blues registered 276 in the first innings in Sydney, Tremain struck twice in his second over of Tasmania’s response to leave the visitors reeling at 2/5 from four overs.
The 30-year-old finished with figures of 5/48 from 17 overs as the Tigers were rolled for 213 as young leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha also snared three crucial wickets.
Tremain quickly created a breakthrough in the second innings as well by removing Tasmanian opener Caleb Jewell for a duck late on day three.
He finished with match figures of 7/97, his best Sheffield Shield performance in three years.
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Speaking to reporters after the match, New South Wales veteran Trent Copeland said he believed Tremain was “back to his best” with the red ball.
“A lot of people don’t understand that he’s only 30,” Copeland explained.
“He’s taken over 250 wickets in first-class cricket, (he) really understands conditions.
“I’m a real bowling nuffie when it comes to skills of the game, and what I see from him now is a guy that had to work pretty hard to get back to his best, but he’s really got the ball talking. When he wants it to do something, generally it’s doing it for him.”
New South Wales ultimately secured a 75-run victory, their second consecutive Sheffield Shield win since the Big Bash League interval.
The Blues were without several first-choice players, including but not limited to Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, Sean Abbott, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
New South Wales coach Phil Jacques was also absent after testing positive to Covid-19 last week.
But despite fielding an inexperienced batting attack, the Blues managed to get the job done and keep their finals hopes alive.
Tremain made his international debut back in 2016, representing Australia in four one-day internationals against South Africa, claiming seven wickets at 36.42.
The paceman found himself on the verge of a Test debut a couple of years later after claiming 51 wickets at 21.07 in the 2017/18 Sheffield Shield. Only two Victorians had ever taken more first-class scalps in a season – Chuck Fleetwood-Smith and Paul Reiffel.
In 2018, Tremain was named in Australia’s 14-man Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but did not feature in the four-match series.
He was dropped ahead of the Sri Lanka Test series later that month, but was named in an Australia A squad for a red-ball tour of England ahead of the 2019 Ashes.
Tremain claimed 3/42 during an intra-squad trial match in Southampton but missed out on selection for the Ashes squad national selectors opting instead for Queenslander Michael Neser.
Following an underwhelming 2019/20 Sheffield Shield campaign, he returned home to New South Wales the following summer, but did not get a game for the Blues until November 2021.
After a handful of solid performances in the New South Wales second XI, Tremain claimed 4/52 against his former teammates at the SCG, tearing through Victoria’s top-order on his long-awaited return for the Blues.
This summer, the 30-year-old has taken 16 first-class scalps at 13.81 – the only Sheffield Shield cricketer with more wickets at a better average this season is West Australian quick Jhye Richardson.
“He’s fantastic,” New South Wales teammate Jason Sangha said of Tremain on Sunday.
“He’s probably been starved of opportunities over the last two years since he’s signed with New South Wales, and he showed his class in that first innings.
“It was a pretty tricky wicket for bowlers to try and get five wickets.”
Tremain has drawn comparisons to former Victorian teammate Scott Boland, who made his Test debut during the recent Ashes series aged 32.
Both seamers get the ball talking in batter-friendly conditions, consistently hitting a good length and utilising the Kookaburra’s natural variation.
Meanwhile, Copeland claimed four wickets in the second innings to clean up Tasmania’s tail, taking his 400th first-class wicket in the process. Only Greg Matthews and Geoff Lawson have snared more scalps for the Blues in Sheffield Shield history.
Young all-rounder Hayden Kerr was named Player of the Match for his career-best 88 in the first innings.
New South Wales will next face Tasmania in a Marsh Cup contest at North Sydney Oval on Wednesday, with the first ball scheduled for 2.30pm AEDT.