Pattinson's Ashes desire still burning
Fast bowler hopeful of return to Shield cricket this season as he eyes Australia's Ashes defence
14 January 2019, 10:31 AM AEST
James Pattinson's Ashes dream is still alive despite his latest injury setback that has all but ended his KFC BBL campaign with the Brisbane Heat.
The injury-plagued right-armer is expected to miss the remainder of the BBL due to a side strain, a frustrating stumble after he made a strong return to the top level after a serious back problem.
The 28-year-old has long eyed-off Australia's Ashes defence in the UK this year and he's confident he'll be back playing first-class cricket before the end of the summer.
"I'll have a few weeks off and start bowling again in three weeks and depending on where (the Heat) are in the tournament, I'll see if I can slide back in if we make the finals," Pattinson told the Seven Network on Sunday.
"But I'll look to play some Shield cricket after this. It's not great news, but not the worst.
"When I've been out of cricket for a long period of time it's hard to get back in. Hopefully I can get back after this little setback and get over to England."
Pattinson played four consecutive JLT Sheffield Shield matches before the mid-season break, taking nine wickets and enjoying a fiery confrontation with one-time teammate Marcus Stoinis at the MCG.
The quick was on some restrictions in the early days of his comeback, but teammate Travis Dean said his pace spearhead was getting back to his absolute best.
"His first spell of the first innings was as quick as I've seen," Dean said after Victoria's match against Stoinis and WA in December.
"If he can keep that up for a consistent period, he's going to be tough to hold out of the Test team."
Australia's Test series against Sri Lanka this month is their last before the Ashes campaign in August, with Pattinson one of a host of quicks hoping to be part of the touring party.
Frontline trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins have the inside running for the series, while former Test quick Mitchell Johnson recently nominated Dan Worrall, Chris Tremain and Scott Boland as those leading the chasing pack.
Pattinson, who underwent a serious back operation last year, said he did so with an Ashes tour front of mind.
"My big goal is playing the Ashes in England," he told cricket.com.au recently.
"That's the main reason I had the surgery.
"That's the pinnacle now – winning an Ashes series away. Hopefully I'm going to have the opportunity to do that, if I can get right."