Qantas Ashes Tour England

Lehmann's lock for 2019 Ashes

Ex-selector puts selector cap back on to pick a certain Ashes squad member

Sam Ferris

11 February 2019, 02:40 PM AEST

Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann is yet to fully select his Ashes squad for this winter's campaign but has already pencilled in Victoria tearaway James Pattinson pending one condition.

While there are still four rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield and a full Australia A tour of England to go before the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston from August 1, it hasn't stopped fans and former cricketers from playing online selectors, with social media already running rife with possible combinations for Tim Paine’s Ashes squad.

When Lehmann was asked to speculate on the make-up of his touring party, he was quick to lock in Pattinson, the fiery right-arm quick who he coached in his Ashes debut in 2013.

Patto pounces with three big scalps

It's Pattinson's strike power and experience in England that has Lehmann sending him on his second away Ashes tour, but only if his body is back to 100 per cent.

"Pattinson's the one I really want to see go," Lehmann told Macquarie Sports Radio. "His record is unbelievable (in) County Cricket … so I think he does go.

"He's one bowler that can really perform (in England).

"As long as he's fit. He's coming back from injury, as long he plays the last bit of Shield cricket and gets through I've got him in my touring squad."

From The Vault: Pattinson stars on Test debut

Pattinson played just two Tests in that 2013 Ashes before succumbing to a back injury, an issue that he's battled throughout his career.

When he is on the field, there are few bowlers in Australia who possess the pace, swing and accuracy of the 28-year-old, who boasts 70 wickets at 26.15 runs apiece in 17 Tests.

The Victorian is currently on the mend from an abdominal injury he sustained playing for Brisbane Heat in the KFC BBL but he is hopeful of taking part in the remaining Shield games, which will use the Dukes ball – the same ball used in England.

Pattinson has had tremendous success with the Dukes ball; in 2017, he took 32 wickets in just five matches playing for Northamptonshire in Division Two of the County Championship.

The best of Pattinson's stump-rattling county stint

In those five games for Notts, Pattinson claimed two five-wicket hauls, averaged 12 and struck every 26 deliveries while playing alongside veteran England seamer Stuart Broad, from whom he gleaned some potentially vital Ashes intel.

"(Broad) was saying that he doesn't try and swing the ball at all in England – it just naturally swings and he just worries about trying to put it on that length," he told early in the summer. "In England, when you're trying to swing the ball and trying to bowl full, the wickets aren't quite as responsive as in Australia, so you struggle to get those big driving nicks that you get over here because the wickets are a bit slower.

"So it's almost trying to bang that knee-roll length, and using the wicket to get it to seam."

Pattinson claimed nine wickets in four Shield matches at the start of the summer in his return to cricket after radical back surgery in November 2017. 

Victoria's first match back after the BBL is against defending champions Queensland at Junction Oval from February 23, before taking on Tasmania (home), NSW (away) and South Australia (away).