THE BLOG
19/11/2013 08:19 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Ashes 2013/14: Tremlett Needs to Stand Tall as Third Seam Bowler

Cricket is a game of fine margins, where outcomes can often come down to a matter of centimetres.

Unfortunately for England selectors, that doesn't make the job of choosing the third seamer for the first Ashes Test any easier.

Steven Finn stands at 200.66cm tall. Boyd Rankin is 2.01m. Chris Tremlett is 6'7". In short (which is probably the wrong word to use in this instance) they are all the same height.

6'7" is en vogue, seemingly to England fast-bowlers what 5'7" is to Barcelona Spanish playmakers, and the Ashes squad includes a Manhattan skyline of these skyscraping seamers.

Like large parts of Manhattan, however, a lot of these bowlers are looking the same. None stands out as an Empire State, but rather huddle together like something more akin with the financial district; imposing, yes, but nothing to discern one from the other; a much of a muchness.

Yet England must find some way to differentiate between the trio, such is the consequence of the decision not to select Graham Onions, while knowing Tim Bresnan was never likely to be fit for the opener in Brisbane.

Each bowler comes with pros and cons, with none quite able to make an outstanding case for or against inclusion.

Finn is a wicket-taking bowler, and given that's his primary job he can perhaps feel unlucky not to be a nailed-on starter. After all, Finn was the fastest man to reach 50 Test wickets for England, and no other bowler in the squad has a better Test strike rate.

The downside to that is how expensive he can be. He may have the best strike rate, but he also by some distance has the worst economy rate - going at 3.65 an over. The recent warm-up match perhaps best encapsulates him as a bowler: he took eight wickets in the match, but went for 191 runs at an economy rate of 3.82, and in the second innings that rate was 4.29.

Rankin, by contrast, took just four wickets in his 44 overs, but did so with an economy rate of 2.47. The Irishman has been fast-tracked into the Test squad since switching his allegiance to England, having only made his first appearance for his new nation in a T20 international in June. That clearly signals that the selectors rate him very highly, but they may ultimately decide the first Ashes match is not the best place to make your Test debut.

Tremlett has, it would appear, been selected more for the memory of his performances on the 2010/11 tour, as opposed to any recent form during the 2012 or 2013 seasons.

Last time Down Under was where Tremlett truly earned his Terminator nickname, with pace and bounce his weapons of choice as he decimated all in his path on the way to retaining the urn. In just three matches he took 17 wickets, at an average of 23.35.

His career since then has been much like his career before: plagued by injury. His last Test appearance came in January last year, and has endured a couple of frustrating campaigns with Surrey over the last two years.

However, he is back, and if reports are to be believed then he is the man most likely to get the nod at the Gabba. The hope must be that this sequel is Terminator 2, and not Rise of the Machines. Otherwise, given his age and injury record, it could be a permanent hasta la vista to his Test career.

If the pitches aren't quite proffering the expected pace and bounce, or (God forbid) something happens to Stuart Broad or James Anderson, then until Bresnan is fit England, for all the height, will be a little short on options.