James Tredwell has started his recuperation from keyhole surgery on a chronic shoulder injury and is aiming to be fit enough to join Kent’s preparations for the 2019 season, writes Mark Baldwin of the ECB Reporters Network.
The 36-year-old former England off spinner, who has not featured at first team level this summer, still believes he has a part to play in his county’s future.
“The specialist who carried out the operation told me that one of my major shoulder tendons had come away from the bone and that I had a tear in the cartilage that lines the socket, so there was a lot more damage than the initial scans had revealed,” said Tredwell, who has played in two Tests, 45 one-day internationals and 17 T20 internationals.
“The hope is that, after a couple of months’ rest, it will feel much stronger. Looking back at some of the challenges I’ve had in recent times, particularly in red-ball cricket, I wonder if I’ve been subconsciously protecting my shoulder. In terms of technique changes, it would suggest I probably have.
“I’ve got to wear a sling for six weeks and can’t drive a car or do very much right now. The timeline is for me to start bowling again after six months. Hopefully, I’ll be at least 70 or 80 per cent fit again in time for pre-season 2019.
“Mentally, I’ve coped with this by understanding that much of my career has been injury-free. I tore a quad muscle in around 2006, but otherwise I’ve had a pretty good run really. Overall, I’ve been very lucky.”
Tredwell, for many the leading white-ball spinner in English cricket during the past decade, made five List A appearances for Kent during their involvement on the FGS Plant Tour in January and February but, since then, has played just three Second XI T20 games, in late June, because of the ongoing shoulder problems.
He explained: “The injury flared up last November after I came back to bowling after having had a month off come the end of the season. I’d felt stiffness before in my shoulder, but never that sort of pain. So, knowing that we had our tour to the West Indies coming up, I stopped bowling for a while and spent time in the gym trying to strengthen the muscles around my right shoulder.
“I got back to bowling again in January and, although I felt a bit stiff, the pain was nowhere near what it had been. Early this year I bowled three or four times a week in the nets and almost felt back to normal, but, once we got to Antigua I knew that under match intensity my shoulder just wasn’t right.
“We decided to call it a day in terms of playing, and so went back to giving the exercises a longer go through to the spring. I gradually built up to bowling again, only for it to go once more during our pre-season warm-up match with Surrey.
“I went and had scans, saw a specialist and received three courses of action. I started with anti-inflammatories for two weeks, which didn’t work, so I had an injection and a period of exercise for three weeks, but, once I came back to bowling in the Second XI, I knew it just wasn’t strong enough for professional cricket and knew I couldn’t give it my all.
“I could hold people up, stop them from scoring, but when I tried to get loop or dip with the red ball, I felt I couldn’t bowl with enough speed to challenge batsmen or get them out.”
Even without Tredwell, Kent Spitfires have enjoyed a memorable white-ball season so far, reaching the Royal London One-Day Cup final at Lord’s and being among the frontrunners for qualification from the Vitality Blast’s highly-competitive South Group.
Kent’s last four Blast games start with an away fixture against Sussex Sharks at Hove on Friday evening and also feature home games against Middlesex and Somerset, at Beckenham and Canterbury respectively on August 12 and 16, and finally a visit to Essex Eagles at Chelmsford on August 17.
It is a run of matches which will decide if Kent make the quarter-finals and, after last Sunday’s deflating eight-wicket defeat against Gloucestershire at Canterbury, vice-captain Joe Denly said: “It is important that we don’t get too down. Every game in the South Group is tough and so we just have to come up with plans for each match and – after a five-day break – go again from Friday onwards.”