New to international cricket he might be, but uncapped Australia fast bowler Chris Tremain might just find himself armed with a brand new ball when he makes his ODI debut in South Africa over coming weeks.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has already confirmed that Tremain and his fellow newbies in the 14-man Australia ODI squad – South Australia’s Joe Mennie and Daniel Worrall – can all expect some game time in the upcoming matches against Ireland and South Africa.
But while Mennie and Worrall can expect to find their feet in international company bowling as first or second change seamers behind more experienced teammates John Hastings and Scott Boland, Tremain is seen as a genuine strike bowler.
And therefore looms as the first Australia quick to be employed as an opening bowler in his ODI debut on foreign soil since Mitchell Starc – who was to be rested from the Qantas Tour of South Africa until injury dictated a lengthier stint on the sidelines – shared the new ball with Clint McKay against India at Visakhapatnam in 2010.
The same match in which Hastings, who will lead the attack on this six-match tour, made his debut for Australia.
Dubbo-born Tremain, who played five Sheffield Shield matches for New South Wales (as a first, second or sometimes third-change seamer) in 2012-13 before making the move to Victoria, earned his national selection as a leader of Victoria’s pace attack as they won their second consecutive Shield title this year.
In a bowling unit that also includes Australian representatives Hastings, Boland, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Clint McKay, Dan Christian and Marcus Stoinis.
Despite a paucity of experience at domestic one-day level – he has played just four matches since 2012 and taken two wickets at 83.50 apiece – Tremain indicated that his role as a strike bowler in red-ball cricket is likely to see him continue in the role with the white ball for his country.
"Every discussion we (the current ODI squad) have had is ‘just keep doing what you’re doing’, and what I’ve been doing has been with the new ball lately," Tremain said in Johannesburg today as his team undertook their first full training session of this month-long tour.
"So if you get given the new ball, then go hell for leather.
"But whatever scenario you’re playing you’ve always got to want the ball in your hand.
"Whether it be new ball, old ball, middle overs or death (end of the innings), I want that ball in my hand."
Tremain’s credentials as a new-ball prospect were endorsed by Boland, who himself has been granted the opportunity to open the bowling for Australia just once in his 10-match ODI career to date.
When he partnered Hastings with the new ball against India in Sydney in January this year.
"He (Tremain) bowls at good pace, swings the new ball away and he’s quite aggressive," Boland said of his fellow Bushranger.
"So I reckon he’ll do quite well over here on the bouncy wickets."
Having left NSW in search of greater opportunities, Tremain can’t hide his excitement at an imminent international debut series against a team that could contain four of the ODI game’s top 10 batsmen – AB de Villiers (if passed fit), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis.
And three of the top 10 bowlers, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada with that list also including Morne Morkel who is currently sidelined due to an ongoing back injury.
Even if Tremain does acknowledge his selection opportunity arose due to the unavailability of a number of his fellow quicks including Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
"I can’t wait, it’s going to be amazing," Tremain said in anticipation of receiving his yellow Australia ODI cap.
"I’ve grown up watching these great tussles between Australia and South Africa and it’s something that came to mind as soon as the selection phone call came through, that this is going to be a great tour.
"A really hard-fought tour and something that I’m going to remember for a long time.
"It’s a great honour to play for your country.
"I understand that I’m here because there’s a few blokes being rested, there’s a few blokes injured and the opportunity has arisen not just for me, but for two other uncapped fast bowlers (Mennie and Worrall).
"So I think we’re all in the same boat and when we do get our opportunity, we’re going to take it with both hands."
And while Tremain’s first experience with South African pitches came during Saturday’s nets session at Johannesburg’s Wanderer’s Stadium, he was able to glean some local knowledge later in the day.
When he joined teammates David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Boland to stage a coaching clinic for around 50 disadvantaged children and teenagers from townships near Johannesburg and South Africa’s Western Cape as part of a joint initiative from Cricket Cares and local social enterprise Afrika Tikkun.
In sharing some of his knowledge about the finer points of bowling with the eager students, Tremain noticed a couple of his charges employing a novel ploy to successfully limit batters’ ability to score.
"A couple of double-bounce yorkers, they worked pretty well," he said when asked what he learned from the enthusiastic youngsters who finished the clinic by serenading the Australians with song.
"I might try and hit my big toe and get it to bounce a couple of times before it gets to them (batters) – it looks pretty hard to get away."