James Pattinson says he has no regrets about asking Australia selectors not to consider him for the Qantas tour of India, despite tearing apart Queensland with 5-7 during a ferocious six-over spell in Brisbane on Saturday.
Pattinson revealed last week he was taking a cautious approach to his return to Test cricket, fearing a premature comeback could result in a recurrence of the injuries that have plagued his career.
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But since returning to Victoria’s Sheffield Shield team last month he’s been bowling with impressive pace and swing and now has 20 wickets from four matches.
"It’s all a process for me, in the past I’ve rushed back and it hasn’t gone well,” Pattinson said when asked if he’d had any second thoughts about ruling himself out of contention for the ongoing series in India.
"I’m looking really long term, I’m still 26, I’m still young and if I get my body adapting well at first-class level then once I get the call up I’ll be ready to go and won’t have doubts about whether I can get through it."
Pattinson’s 5-7 was his second five-wicket haul in as many weeks, after he snared 5-58 in Victoria’s comprehensive win over Western Australia in Alice Springs to cement the Bushrangers’ place atop the competition decider.
"The last couple of games I’ve started to hit my straps,” Pattinson said.
"In the first couple of games I did OK without being outstanding, but that’s cricket, it takes you a while to get back into it.
"I’ve had four games in a row now and another next week with the final.
"Today was the best I’ve felt with my rhythm and how relaxed I felt with my bowling, so hopefully now I can keep going."
Pattinson’s swing and pace saw Queensland crumble to be all out for just 61 on Saturday, handing the Bushrangers an innings-and-11-run victory and securing a home final in Alice Springs.
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Yet Queensland skipper Chris Hartley insists it’s not the best bowling he’s faced from the Victorian quick.
"He bowled well (but) I’ve definitely faced better spells from him,” Hartley said.
"But if that’s his baseline, then Victoria and the Australian Test side will be pretty excited.
"His pace was up and he was swinging the ball both ways.
"He’s a fantastic competitor and he’s aggressive, he’s a very imposing bowler.
"I’m not taking away from his bowling today … I’ve played him for a number of years and I remember one spell at the Gabba where he was particularly venomous.
"But if that’s a standard bowling day for Pattinson, then he’s going to play a lot more Tests for Australia."
Following the Shield final, Pattinson will jet off to England where he’s signed on to play for Nottinghamshire in the County Championship, a stint he hopes will have him primed to take on England on Australian soil next summer.
“My body has got better the more I’ve bowled,” he added.
“Now with the opportunity to go to England after the Shield final, hopefully I can harden my body for the rigours of what it takes to become a Test bowler.”
India (for third and fourth Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund.
Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade
Australia's schedule in India
Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune - Australia won by 333 runs.
Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru - India won by 75 runs.
Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi
Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala