JASON GILLESPIE has described Tim Bresnan as “the ultimate team man” after the Yorkshire and England all-rounder was named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.
Gillespie said Bresnan was the epitome of the players’ player, a man who always puts the interests of the team above himself.
The former Australia fast bowler – now Yorkshire’s first-team coach – added that Bresnan thoroughly deserved his award from the cricketers’ bible.
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack has been honouring the game’s leading cricketers since 1889, and Bresnan was joined in this year’s quintet by his England team-mate Alastair Cook, Lancashire’s Glen Chapple, Worcestershire’s Alan Richardson and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, who was also named Leading Cricketer in the World.
“It’s a nice thing to hang your hat on,” said Gillespie, himself one of Wisden’s famous five in 2002.
“It’s a tremendous honour and he thoroughly deserves it.
“At the same time, Tim is a big team player, the ultimate team man, and I think he will rate the fact that England have won each of his 11 Test matches higher than any individual accolade.
“He’s had 11 Test celebrations, and, believe me, one is brilliant, let alone 11.”
Bresnan, 27, is the 43rd Yorkshire player to be a Wisden Cricketer of the Year and the first since Matthew Hoggard in 2006.
Every year, five players are chosen by the editor of Wisden, who considers those who have shone brightest or had the greatest influence on the previous English summer, with the key stipulation that no cricketer can be chosen more than once.
Bresnan was unable to attend last night’s Wisden ceremony at Lord’s cricket ground as he is getting married in the Maldives.
But in a statement he said he was delighted with the honour.
“It’s a very select membership and I’m over the moon to receive such a prestigious honour,” he said. “To be included alongside the four other players this year and the great names of the past is very special indeed.
“I have been getting my yellow-bound copies of Wisden for a while now and to be one of the five cricketers of the year is a massive honour.”
Lawrence Booth, the new Wisden editor, paid tribute to Bresnan after a year in which the Pontefract-born player helped England to the summit of the world Test rankings.
“If you look at his performances against India, he took 16 wickets at an average of 16 and that’s better than world class,” said Booth. “He’s also become our lucky charm, winning 11 Tests out of 11.
“David Saker, the England bowling coach, says that Bresnan is terrifically underrated.
“The ball hits the bat harder than batsmen expect and he’s got a great yorker and a very good bouncer.
“Bresnan is right up there and he’s very highly thought of by the England set-up.”
Gillespie, 36, echoed those sentiments. He believes Bresnan has become an integral part of the England set-up, a man who has made it difficult for the selectors to leave him out.
“I don’t know how England can keep him out of the team now,” said Gillespie. “He’s just a superstar – a wonderful cricketer who brings so much to the England side.
“I first met him when I came here to Yorkshire in 2006 as a player and it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that he’s done what he’s done in international cricket.
“The England side obviously love having him around – just as we love having him around at Yorkshire.”
Bresnan is profiled in this year’s almanack by Tanya Aldred, who writes: “By the end of last summer, Bresnan had won all of his ten Tests, and he signed his first central contract in the autumn.
“Once only pencilled on to the team-sheet, now he is inked – even in a squad full of fast bowling and lower-order hitters.
“Elbow surgery in December eventually ruled him out of the New Year Tests in the UAE, where he was badly missed.
“He is funny company but has no lust for fame, and an unexpected taste for fancy coffee.
“And though there’s not much spare on him now, he still has the air of a man with an emergency cheese sandwich in his back pocket.”
Bresnan has been cleared by the England management to play in two County Championship games for Yorkshire ahead of the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s on May 17.
He is available to take part in the match against Kent at Canterbury (April 26-29) and the fixture against Leicestershire at Scarborough (May 2-5).
“It’s a tough one as a county coach because I’d obviously love to have him available for every game – absolutely,” added Gillespie.
“But, for me, it’s a real positive for the county to be able to produce cricketers like Tim who go on to represent England and perform so well.
“Any time we have an international player back, we welcome him with open arms.
“We’re just really thankful whenever they have an opportunity to represent Yorkshire.”