Tremlett added four more wickets on day two yesterday to record career-best figures of 6-42 in Sri Lanka’s 177-9 at the rain-hit Rose Bowl.
His towering bounce and sideways movement under leaden skies at his former home ground helped England all but bowl the tourists out, despite having lost almost 120 overs to bad weather.
Saker did not dissuade comparison with the great and almost equally tall West Indies fast bowler Garner as he sought to put Tremlett’s giant strides into context.
He recalled that he knew almost immediately when he saw Tremlett bowling in the Oval nets last August – by invitation before last summer’s third Test against Pakistan – that he had a talent England could not afford to ignore.
Saker’s judgment, formed after two deliveries at Kevin Pietersen, was proved spot on in last winter’s Ashes and again here as Tremlett remains on an upward curve in his second coming as an international cricketer.
He said: “I just watched two balls and went up to (England coach) Andy Flower and said ‘this guy is a Test cricketer. I don’t know what’s happened in the past, but if we can keep this guy on the park...’.
“I had no hesitation he could play good Test cricket if he could get his body right.”
Since Tremlett’s move from his native Hampshire to Surrey last year, he has shed his apparent vulnerability to injury and begun to show his true colours, at the age of 29.
“I suppose after the last 12 months he’s shown a lot of people in England he can do the job,” added Saker. Asked about similarities to Garner, he agreed: “He’s got a lot of attributes like Joel Garner, height and good bounce. It’s a big call to compare him with Joel but with that height and the bounce he does get, he complements Jimmy (Anderson) really well.
“He’s been fantastic for us. He needs to keep improving and had some spells at Lord’s (in the second Test) that weren’t quite right, but he’s proven to a lot of people he belongs in Test cricket.
“Guys with height always have a little bit of an advantage. When he gets his length right, he’s a huge handful.”