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Test rivals turn BBL mates at the Heat

James Pattinson can't wait to team up with Brendon McCullum after being on the receiving end during their Test cricket showdowns

Adam Burnett

12 December 2018, 01:27 PM AEST

James Pattinson is hoping the welcome he gets from Brisbane Heat superstar Brendon McCullum is a little friendlier than the one he received when the two met in the Australian's Test debut back in 2011.

New Heat recruit Pattinson shares some Test cricket history with McCullum, who was opening the batting for the Black Caps when Pattinson first donned Baggy Green at the Gabba just over seven years ago.

The young tearaway was backed to bowl the first over of the Test, and met his match in an equally aggressive McCullum.

"I was lucky enough – or not lucky enough – to bowl to him in my first over in Test cricket," Pattinson said today in Brisbane.

"He took me for (12) at the Gabba. I thought it was going to be hard work from there."

Despite being hammered for three fours from that initial over, Pattinson bounced back to claim five second-innings wickets – including that of McCullum, who nicked off for one – and earn man of the match.

From The Vault: Pattinson stars on Test debut

Five years later, they had another memorable meeting, this time in McCullum's farewell to Test cricket. Again the Black Caps blaster was in a ruthless mood, dismantling the Aussie attack to the tune of 145 from 79 balls, and notching a 54-ball ton along the way – still the fastest in Test history.

"I managed to play him in his last Test match as well, where I think he got 160 or something and smacked them all around Hagley Park in Christchurch," Pattinson recalled.

"He's a fantastic player to play against, and now with, and hopefully he can continue the form he's had for a number of years.

"He's a pretty exciting player to play with, so I'm looking forward to that."

Pattinson has been signed by the Heat to take new-ball wickets with his explosive pace, but the 28-year-old is well aware that on a true Gabba wicket, he will need more than sheer speed to be a success.

"In the shorter formats of the game, my strength is probably my pace so I'll be obviously trying to look to bowl with pace … with your change-ups," he said. "I think the way the batters play now, they're exceptional and they've got all the shots, so a lot of time fast bowling doesn't really worry the batters too much.

"So you have to be able to be adaptable and at times look to bowl with pace and aggression on a good length but change it up as well – not being predictable is a big thing in Twenty20 cricket.

"Trying to think one step ahead of the batters is the way to go."

Heat coach Daniel Vettori this week noted the all-round quality he expects Pattinson to bring the side, with the left-hander having recently posted a hundred in an Under-23 Futures League match for Victoria.

"He hasn't played a heap of T20 cricket, but if you look at the last few years of his overall cricket, he's really started to mature as an allrounder, and I think that's where we'll get the most benefit of him – as a strike bowler and looking to bat in that seven or eight role, which is a crucial role in the T20 game," Vettori said.

"There's hope that his bowling and his body stays (right), because it's a pretty special package, but when you add the batting to it as well, he could become one of those world-class allrounders."