He normally fields in the deep, but is sometimes found in the slip cordon. He won the NBC Denis Compton Award in 2002 and 2003. In June 2006 he was called up to the England One Day International side, and in May 2009, he joined the Test side. He was selected for the 2010–11 Ashes series and played in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG; he took six wickets including the final one which saw England retain the Ashes.
Born to Ray and Julie Bresnan, Tim attended Castleford High School Technology and Sports College, and subsequently attended NEW College, Pontefract. He started his career and played his junior cricket at Townville Cricket Club, the club where his father played his cricket and where his two brothers, Nick and Ritchie still do, before moving to Castleford Cricket Club as he began to play within the Yorkshire set up. He is a Leeds United FC supporter.
He is married to Hannah and they have one son, Max. His brother-in-law is fellow Yorkshire cricketer Andrew Gale.
Bresnan made his maiden first-class century in April 2007 during a County Championship match against Surrey at The Oval, beating his previous highest score of 94. During the innings, he also passed the landmark of 1,000 runs in first-class cricket. Bresnan scored 116 and in doing so, alongside Jason Gillespie, set a record ninth-wicket partnership for Yorkshire: the pair put on 246 before Bresnan was stumped off the bowling of Nayan Doshi. It was the fourth-highest ninth-wicket partnership in all first-class cricket In July Bresnan scored his second first-class ton, this time for England Lions against a touring Indian team which included Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, and Sreesanth. His innings of 126 not out was a new personal best.