Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Injury-free Pattinson targets back-to-back Tests
Back from the Ashes with his body free of niggles, the Victorian tearaway hopes to play multiple Tests on the trot this summer
11 November 2019, 03:49 PM AEST
James Pattinson wants to break free of bowling restrictions and string multiple Tests together this summer as the paceman enjoys a rare injury-free lead-in to the international season.
Pattinson will lead a new-look Victorian side this week in the MCG’s first Marsh Sheffield Shield game of the summer ahead of his likely inclusion in Australia's Test squad to face Pakistan at the Gabba later this month.
The 29-year-old's recent Ashes campaign was the sixth overseas Test tour he's played in, but just the second one he's returned home from without a major injury.
That surprised even Pattinson, who admitted on Monday: "When I got back from England, I didn't know what to do because usually I'd be nursing a stress fracture.
"To rock up, have four days off and bowl again – I was like, 'what's this all about?' It's things like that where you pinch yourself and go, 'this is good, things are starting to line up a little bit'.
"Still not being 30 yet, I've still got a lot of cricket left."
Having played two Tests in Australia's successful regaining of the treasured urn but not risked for consecutive matches given his chequered injury history, Pattinson believes he's now capable of more.
"The next process for me now is, if I do get the chance in the Test arena, is the chance to play more back-to-back cricket now," said the right-armer, who's taken five wickets in two Shield games this summer.
"Coming into the team and being out for three years, the next process is to play more back-to-back cricket. I've been injury-free for the best part of a year now and the body is feeling good. Hopefully that's the next progression.
"When you see the batters, they're playing all the time and getting into a rhythm. As a bowler it's hard because you're always stopping and going, stopping and going. Hopefully that next process is playing consistent cricket."
Yet, even if Pattinson stays fit for the summer, he faces stiff competition for a permanent fast-bowling berth.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were Australia's two standout quicks from the Ashes and appear near certainties to line up for the Domain Test Series opener against Pakistan at the Gabba.
That match is still two weeks away, but Pattinson and Mitchell Starc loom as the early contenders for the other bowling spot in a four-man attack that would also feature spinner Nathan Lyon.
Two-Test youngster Jhye Richardson and Ashes tourist Michael Neser will also have chances to impress against Pakistan in their three-day pink-ball tour match against Pakistan from Monday.
"We've got a lot of fast bowlers up at the moment, which is great for Australian cricket," Pattinson said.
"All anyone can do is go out there and do their best for the team they're playing in."
The lessons of Pattinson's injury struggles haven’t been lost on Will Sutherland either, with Victoria confirming the 20-year-old son of former Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland will make his first-class debut alongside uncapped teenager Jake Fraser-McGurk on Tuesday.
Sutherland has had to bide his time for his first crack at Shield level having played 10 domestic one-dayers over the past three seasons, insisting he's learnt plenty during the wait.
"I struggled coming in (to the Victoria squad) first year out of school, I probably went a little bit too hard," said the allrounder, who's set to slot in at No.7 against the Bulls.
"In the gym, I was trying to impress and it's probably not that way in cricket. You've got to be there for the last game of the season, not the next one.
"I've been able to speak to Patto a bit about that. He's obviously had a few back problems so I'm speaking to him about balancing (bowling) loads.
"He's been great for me. He's an unbelievable player, just to be able to see him (regularly) … he did a full pre-season with us last year and I certainly asked him plenty of questions and he's been super supportive of the young bowlers coming through."