'A' One-Day Quad-Series
'Frantic, emotional': Inside a whitewash
Victorian quick reflects on his debut campaign in national colours in the wake of Australia's 0-5 ODI series sweep in the UK
Louis Cameron is a Melbourne-based journalist. A former Victorian Bushrangers fast bowler, Louis joined the cricket.com.au team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program in 2016.
Chris Tremain could understand better than most what Australia's bowlers went through last month.
Australia, fielding one of the least experienced bowling attacks in their one-day international history, were handed a 5-0 series thrashing at the hands of the world's best team, England, and conceded a world record 6-481 at Trent Bridge.
Watching the carnage unfold at home through the Melbourne winter, Tremain couldn't help but recall his own debut series nearly two years ago in South Africa.
When, like they did in the United Kingdom in June, Australia took on a red-hot ODI side without their own leading quicks in a five-game series and failed to win a single match.
"I can empathise with the fast bowlers," Tremain tells cricket.com.au. "I know what it's like to go to a foreign country and get dished up flat wickets on small grounds, and exactly how that affects how you play the game."
The numbers from his maiden international campaign hardly spell a disastrous tale, with seven wickets at 36 from four games. But as the losses piled up, Tremain admits it took some time to process what happened in South Africa ahead of the 2016-17 home summer.
"The hardest thing was getting back after some games and people saying, 'We need to learn from this'. We were trying, but we didn't know what lessons we were trying to learn," he explains. "It took a bit of hindsight and a bit of time.
"At the time, everything is so emotional and so frantic. You get back to the hotel after the games, your head is still going at a mile a minute. You try to debrief and get some sort of benefit from the game and it's really difficult.
"It does take a little while before you can actually sit back and figure out, 'This was right, this was wrong. I could have done this, I should have done this'.
"There are still moments now when I think about South Africa. I might duck onto the AMS (Cricket Australia's software for reviewing match footage) and see whether my plans or my execution was right. It's about going back to the crunch moments in those games.
"It took a lot of time before I started to think holistically about that tour and benefit from it."
Australia's new coach, Justin Langer, also knows how tough an initiation international cricket can provide.
A "skinny kid" on debut facing the might of West Indies' famed fast-bowling attack in the early '90s, Langer remembers David Boon telling him, "Test cricket will never get tougher than this".
"I thought he was just being nice to me but it was so true," continued Langer, speaking after last month's UK tour. "I learnt something from it and I was tougher from it.
"When you look at Trent Bridge, for our young blokes to get hit for 480-something it doesn't get tougher. Hopefully it will add some layers to their character and not scars.
"A few of the boys have walked into the jungle and we'll see how they go, not only over the next six months, but over the next two or three or 10 years."
Ahead of Langer’s first series in charge of the national team, Tremain got a first-hand glimpse into the Western Australian’s methods as he trained with the ODI squad in Brisbane before their departure for the UK.
That fleeting insight meant he saw the ensuing media reaction to the succession of defeats, and to Trent Bridge in particular, in a different light to many.
"What really annoys me was the reaction that we got about the results," Tremain said.
"I remember reading an article by Peter Fitzsimmons asking 'When are we going to see the JL effect take place? They're 3-0 down, when are we going to see it?'
"Langer had been in charge for two weeks – it's going to take longer than two weeks for it (his impact) to take place.
"What a big portion of the population might not have seen was the process behind the scenes, how they approached the tour leading into it with the camp in Brisbane and, more importantly, the process going into games and in training. It had changed.
"What a lot of cricketers around the country and people who know what it's like when a coach takes over a team understand is that things don't happen overnight. It takes time."
Having flourished on the domestic scene since that character-building South Africa tour, Tremain will be among a host of Test hopefuls hoping to push their case on Australia A's tour of India next month.
The Victorian is the leading Sheffield Shield wicket taker over the past three seasons, but was coy when asked about his hopes of pulling on the Baggy Green.
"Selection is a horrible thing," said Tremain. "Any type of cricket selection, but especially higher (national team) selection. I don't envy Cracker (chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns) and the rest of the selection panel for the job they do.
"When I first started playing cricket, I just wanted to do it as an occupation. I wanted to do it as a profession and I got the opportunity to do that.
"Being selected for Australia A or taking 50 wickets in a Shield season … they're pretty much cherries on top of what you're doing.
"I've never gone out to play with the mindset, 'If I do well here, I'll play for Australia'. It's 'If I do well here, I'll get another week of being a professional cricketer'."
Australia A Tour of India
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Matthew Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth
One-day fixtures in Vijayawada
17 August v India A
19 August v South Africa A
23 August v India A
25 August v South Africa A
29 August – Tri-Series Final
Four-day fixtures in Vizag
2 – 5 September v India A
8 – 11 September v India A