James Tredwell, England’s offspinning understudy, retires from playing career

James Tredwell, the Kent and former England offspinner, has announced his retirement after an injury-plagued season.

Tredwell, 36, broke the news to his Kent team mates on Monday. Despite undergoing keyhole surgery on a chronic shoulder problem in the summer, he was unable to recover his best form and did not play once for the first team in the 2018 season.

“I feel very grateful to have been able to represent both my county and my country during my career,” said Tredwell. “I have had some great times on and off the cricket field but now it’s time for both me and the club to move on.”

Tredwell, who was born in Ashford, made his debut for his home county in 2000, and captained the club for the 2013 season. He went on to make 613 senior appearances for Kent all told, taking 830 wickets.

His England career was as unassuming as the man himself, though he let no-one down in his two Tests, 45 ODIs and 17 T20s, and might well have played more had his prime years not coincided with the emergence of Graeme Swann as a world-class rival. In fact, he finished his ODI career with an identical bowling average to Swann – his 60 wickets at 27.76 compared to Swann’s 104.

His two Test appearances came five years apart – a one-off appearance at Dhaka in 2010, where he claimed six wickets in the match, including 4 for 82 in the second innings, and made an important 37 from No.10 in England’s nine-wicket win.

He was then recalled for the Antigua Test in April 2015, this time as a solitary spinner in the absence of Moeen Ali. He picked up a further five wickets, but was unable to dislodge West Indies’ tail as they held out for a draw.

In limited-overs cricket, his versatility and reputation as an uncomplaining understudy earned him regular call-ups to England squads for global tournaments. He featured in both the 2011 and 2015 World Cups – his finest hour coming at Chennai in 2011 when he and Swann bowled England to a tense and vital victory over West Indies – and he also played in the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.

Domestically, he was awarded his county cap in 2007 and was a member of the side that won the Twenty20 Cup in the same year. He was also in the County Championship Division Two winning side of 2009.

Despite calling time on his playing career, Tredwell has no intention of walking away from cricket just yet.

“I am looking forward to giving something back to the game I love,” he said, “whether it be as an umpire or coach – I will see where each role takes me and I am excited by the challenge ahead.”

“In closing though, I would like to take this opportunity to say that it has been an honour to play for Kent all these years and I would like to thank all staff, coaches, team mates and fans for their tremendous support over the years.”

Paul Downton, Director of Cricket at Kent said: “James has made an outstanding contribution to Kent in all formats throughout an incredibly successful career and I would like to congratulate him on all that he has achieved.

“His commitment and loyalty to the County is admired by team mates and supporters alike – he is also hugely respected by his fellow professionals.

“The dressing room will be a very different place without Treddy and I would like to wish him all the very best for the future.”

Sam Billings, Kent’s current captain, tweeted his appreciation of his former team-mate. “Very lucky to have had blokes like Tred as senior players at the start of my career!” he wrote. “Always set an example to everyone and a fantastic bloke. Thank you Tred for everything.”

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