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ASHES 2017-18

A Pattinson promotion could boost Wade

20 April 2017

Pattinson and Wade during the 2015 Matador Cup // Getty Images

Victoria's batting coach David Hussey backs James Pattinson and Matthew Wade to handle move up the order

A key man in James Pattinson's emergence as a genuine allrounder has no doubt the Victorian could hold down the No.7 spot in first-class or even Test cricket.

And David Hussey also believes such a move could bring the best out of wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade, who he says is good enough to hold his spot at international level purely as a batsman.

Pattinson has roared into contention for an Ashes campaign this coming summer having made an eye-catching return from injury, which on Thursday earned him selection in Australia's one-day Champions Trophy squad.

Quick Single: Australia name Champions Trophy squad

While it's come as no surprise that the right-armer's pacey swing bowling has helped him dominate both Sheffield Shield and county cricket, it's his improvement as a batsman that has sparked debate about his potential to bat higher in the order.

Pattinson bags eight and top scores on debut

The left-hander has averaged 49 with the bat in 10 first-class innings since his latest return in February, including four half-centuries.

Hussey, Pattinson's batting coach at Victoria and his former teammate, worked closely with the 26-year-old during his latest injury lay-off and is in no doubt that he could bat as high as No.7 in the order.

"He's technically very good and I think he's going to make a few first-class runs," Hussey told cricket.com.au.

"He's always been talented at hitting the ball, but he just had to tighten up a few things defensively. And now he's a very good lower-order player.

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"Being injured for a long period of time, I guess the one advantage is you can work on your batting and your fielding and your fitness. And we spent a lot of hours together on his defensive style of play and also working on a few shots.

"He was always hanging around in the gym and ... was at a loss (with what to do) with his time so I fed him a few balls in the bowling machine. He's a guy who always likes to be doing things. He likes hitting balls and I like helping him out.

Pattinson has averaged 49 with the bat since his return from injury // Getty

"It's coming along really well. Hopefully he can continue and he can be a top-order batter sooner rather than later."

Pattinson was named in the Champions Trophy squad alongside fellow quicks Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, and speculation is already rife that Australia will squeeze all four quicks into their side for the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba in November.

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Assuming spinner Nathan Lyon holds his spot, playing all four quicks would likely mean Pattinson bats as high as No.7, followed by Cummins and Starc (who have handy first-class batting averages of 24) at No.8 and No.9.

Playing four frontline quicks would also mean an elevation to No.6 for incumbent keeper-batsman Wade, who has scored two Test hundreds but has managed just one half-century in 13 innings since regaining his Test spot last November.

But with nine first-class centuries and a breakthrough ODI hundred against Pakistan in January to his name, Hussey believes his former state teammate is on the verge of hitting his straps as an international batsman.

"Wadey has batted No.6 for Victoria for many years and he's performed very, very well for us," Hussey said.

Wade and Hussey during the latter's playing days with Victoria // Getty

"He's made two Test hundreds and I think he's just about to click to be a very, very consistent batsman. And I don't think batting No.6 will worry him too much.

"He likes a challenge as well. Maybe batting at No.6 will help him out and progress his game to a new level and see him average 40 or 45.

"I believe he could actually play in the international team purely as a batsman if not a wicketkeeper.

"Maybe he needs that extra challenge of being moved up to No.6, which would allow Australia to play that extra fast bowler or extra spinner if conditions suit."

Pattinson, who has made a blazing start to his stint with English county side Nottinghamshire, said he was excited about the prospect of playing with Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins in the same XI for the first time.

But he also cautioned that the resumption of Ashes hostilities is still a long way away.

Wade regained his spot in Australia's Test side last November // Getty
Wade regained his spot in Australia's Test side last November // Getty

"There’s been a bit of talk about it but there’s still seven months (to go), and seven months is a long time until the Ashes," he told RSN.

"It’d be fantastic. It’s something Cricket Australia worked towards for a long time to get us all (fit) at the same time. They’re great bowlers and to be even just mentioned with them is a great honour."

With respect to his improved performances with the willow, Pattinson cited his competitive nature as fundamental to his success.

"I’m a pretty competitive guy, so I once get in the middle I hate giving my wicket up," he added. "I try and make it as hard as possible for the bowlers to get me out.

"Once I get in I can try and invent a few more shots for limited-overs (cricket) but ... at the moment I’m more of a blocker I think."

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About the Writer

 @martinsmith9994
@martinsmith9994

Martin Smith is a writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.

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