He never though he’d share the new ball with one of his country’s greatest recent Ashes nemeses, but James Pattinson says Stuart Broad is helping him to become an even more fearsome pace prospect ahead of a potential showdown next summer.
In his first match of his maiden county stint, Pattinson joined Broad in a lethal Nottinghamshire opening bowling partnership in the side’s season opener against Leicestershire earlier this month.
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The Australian has carried his stellar first-class form over to the United Kingdom, picking up 13 wickets in his first two four-day games and striking back-to-back half-centuries for his new side.
Determined to get a solid bowling workload under his belt to harden his body and counter the succession of injuries that have plagued him in recent years, Pattinson admits he’s been soaking up the wisdom Broad has to offer from a near decade-long Test career.
“The first game we opened the bowling together and it was pretty surreal,” Pattinson explained on Melbourne radio station RSN.
“I never thought I’d be opening the bowling with Stuart Broad after playing Test matches against him.
“It’s fantastic the way he talks about cricket, he’s played 100 Test matches and I think he’s just only turned 30.
“It’s a pretty good effort to play that many Test matches and it’s great to get an insight into how he sees fast bowling and what he does to prepare his body.
“He’s a pretty good bowler and has been for a number of years.
“He has been helping me out a fair bit.”
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How Broad is received in Australia next summer looms as an intriguing subplot to the main contest next summer.
The right-armer became public enemy number one on England’s last tour Down Under in 2013-14, having controversially been given not out during the preceding Ashes series in the UK when he edged one to slip but didn’t walk at Trent Bridge.
Broad then orchestrated one of Australia’s most disastrous batting collapses in Test history in the 2015 Ashes, destroying Australia at the same Nottingham venue with an incredible 8-15 to almost singlehandedly skittle the tourists for 60.
But Pattinson insists all of that was put to one side when the two took to the field for Notts.
“He’s been fantastic actually,” said the Victorian, who’s taken 70 wickets at 26.15 in 17 Tests.
“We are fierce in battle when we are playing in the Ashes but at the end of it, we are all pretty good mates and we can all have a beer together.
“We’re all doing the same thing in the end.”
Broad’s preparations for England’s home Test summer, which doesn’t get underway until July following the Champions Trophy, was brought into focus when his plea to the ECB to play Nottinghamshire’s second Championship match was refused.
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As part of a bowling management plan devised by the ECB, the paceman had originally been scheduled to sit out the match against Durham, but Broad asked director of cricket Andrew Strauss to reconsider.
The ECB stood by its decision – a call Shane Warne labelled a “joke” – and Pattinson described how Broad was a big believer in bowling as often as possible to stay in rhythm, an approach he hopes to emulate.
“A perfect example over here is Stuart Broad,” Pattinson said.
“He talks about having to bowl and bowl when he comes back from injuries ... to try and get back into a rhythm.
“He speaks about when he’s at his sorest is when he hasn’t really bowled that much.
“His body adapts the more and more he bowls.
“That was the one thing I wanted to get out of (his stint with Notts).
“So if another chance (at Test level) ever comes again, I’m ready to go and I can actually be confident in getting through a Test series.”
Ashes ticket sales key dates
April 23: Cut-off date to join the ACF
May 1: Tickets on sale to ACF Gold members
May 3: Tickets on sale to all ACF members
May 8: Tickets on sale to the general public
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Men's Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night)
Third Test Perth TBC, December 14-18
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test)
ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14
Second ODI Gabba, January 19
Third ODI SCG, January 21
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2
T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21