Cardiff: England may be looking ahead to defending the Ashes but off-spinner James Tredwell reckons winning the Champions Trophy would be an "absolutely massive" achievement in itself. Despite nearly four decades of trying, England have still to win an International Cricket Council (ICC) one-day international event.
Graham Gooch, now the team's batting coach, appeared as a player in England's three losing World Cup finals -- in 1979, 1987 and 1992 -- while the last time the Champions Trophy was held in England in 2004, a side led by Michael Vaughan lost a dramatic final to the West Indies at The Oval.
Indeed England's only major title in cricket's shorter formats is the 2010 World Twenty20 they won in the Caribbean. But they moved a step closer to ending their trophy drought in the ODI game with a 10-run win over New Zealand in Cardiff on Sunday that saw them into the semi-finals of the ongoing Champions Trophy tournament in Britain.
Tredwell has become a symbol of England's growing strength in depth in the 50-over game in that he often only gets his chance when Graeme Swann, England's premier off-spinner across all formats, is injured. However, such has been Tredwell's admirable consistency it is no longer a surprise to see him performing well at international level, with the 31-year-old Kent bowler filling in admirably for Swann in three of England's last four ODIs -- all victories compared to the seven-wicket Group A loss to Sri Lanka.
Many England fans viewed the Champions Trophy, a tournament featuring the world's top eight ODI sides, as a distraction from the rather more important business of a third straight Test campaign win over Australia when they face their arch-rivals in a five-match series starting in Nottingham next month. But Tredwell is in no doubt that winning the Champions Trophy would be a significant success in its own right.
"We have as a good chance now (of winning this tournament) as any team in the next stage. That's an absolutely massive thing," said Tredwell. "We don't want to look too far ahead - to lifting that trophy, we hope - but equally, it's something that's in the back of your mind. "The semi-final is going to be tough, but we're two games away now from winning a major tournament."
Swann is currently sidelined with calf and back problems but England captain Alastair Cook stressed Sunday there was no need to rush him back such was his confidence in Tredwell. "I'm in the squad and I'm getting a game here and there," Tredwell said. "I don't think I've let anyone down in the games I've played, so I hope that can continue. "For my part it's fingers crossed, isn't it?
"But again Swanny's been brilliant, hasn't he, for a period of time. So if he's fit, I'm sure he'll come into the reckoning -- as they say." Tredwell added: "I've got a few games under my belt and shown what I can do. When every game comes around now, I'm chomping at the bit to get on the park."
England are generally reluctant to field two specialist spinners in the same side with Tredwell and Swann appearing together on national service just three times, all in the sub-continent, at the 2011 World Cup and on the 2009/10 Test tour of Bangladesh.
"We've played together before and I don't see any reason why we can't again," Tredwell said. "We are very different, I think; we offer different things in a game scenario, so at some stage we might get a game together."