Vodafone Men's Ashes
Pattinson retires from international cricket
Victorian fast bowler has hung up the boots in a surprise decision ahead of this summer's Ashes
20 October 2021, 06:55 PM AEST
Victoria quick James Pattinson has retired from international cricket in a surprise decision ahead of an Ashes series he looked set to play a part in.
Pattinson, who has been capped 40 times for Australia and has 21 Tests to his name, had last month indicated to cricket.com.au that this summer's Test series would likely be his last crack at breaking through to again wear the Baggy Green.
But a knee injury understood to have been suffered while fielding in an intra-squad Victorian trial game late last month was a further setback for the 31-year-old, whose retirement was confirmed on Wednesday.
Pattinson is believed to have forgone his Cricket Australia contract and will now need to play in at least three Shield games for Victoria to be upgraded to a state deal.
"Leading into pre-season I really wanted to give the Ashes a crack but in the end I haven't had the preparation I would have liked heading into the coming season," Pattinson said in a statement.
"If I was to be part of the Ashes I would need to do myself and my teammates justice.
"I didn't want to be in a position of battling with my body when you need to be 100 per cent fit and ready to go at any time. That would not be fair to myself or the team.
"It was then I felt that instead of trying to play at the very highest level, knowing I have only got three or four years of cricket left, I would focus more on Victoria, helping the young guys develop, perhaps some cricket in England and spending more time with my family."
Pattinson, had he been fit and available, would likely have been vying with Michael Neser as the next fast bowler in to the Test side behind NSW trio Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
In addition to Victorian duties, he now also looks set to play a full season for the Melbourne Renegades under new coach David Saker.
The injury, which will sideline him from Victoria's opening Shield match against NSW next week, compounded a feeling of frustration from last summer.
The right-arm quick spent almost five months in bubbles during which his only playing time came in the Indian Premier League and a tour game against India.
Speaking to cricket.com.au recently, Pattinson said: "There's only so much you can take when you're on the cusp.
"And before you know it, you're 34 or 35 and you've missed a lot of cricket and you've missed opportunities elsewhere.
"The hardest part as you get older is that you want to try and enjoy your cricket as well. You put all your attention into playing cricket for Australia and at some stage, that finishes.
"… I'd just like to play consistent cricket, wherever that might be."
Pattinson made his Test debut in December 2011 alongside Mitchell Starc and David Warner against the Kiwis at the Gabba, and produced a player-of-the-match performance with second-innings figures of 5-27, skittling the Kiwis with the sort of high-pace, quality outswing that would become his trademark.
That New Zealand series however, in which he took 14 wickets in two Tests, remains the most prolific of his career, and in the decade since, 20 more Tests have arrived in between various injuries – most seriously a back problem that required radical surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation.
At no stage has the aggressive paceman strung together more than four Tests, though at his best he has proven a match for even the world's best, as his record of 81 wickets at 26 would attest.
Among the 50 Australians to have taken 80-plus Test wickets, only Fred Spofforth (44.5) and Pat Cummins (47.1) have a strike-rate superior to Pattinson's 48.9.
Away from cricket, the Victorian has a young family and is doing a building apprenticeship, which has given him an early taste of life after cricket.
"Everyone who has played with Patto has thrived on his competitive nature and the sheer pride he takes in playing for his country," chief selector for the national men's team, George Bailey said.
"James epitomises what it means to play for Australia, the sacrifices you make and the hurdles you have to overcome on the journey.
"But his record speaks for itself, he has been a wonderful player. We would have loved to have seen a lot more of him over the years."
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium