Sheffield Shield 2016-17
The 'animal' ready to transform the Test XI
Title-winning skipper makes astonishing declaration on a speedster that could change the make-up of Australia's Test side
5 April 2017, 01:16 PM AEST
Victoria's Sheffield Shield-winning captain Cameron White believes tearaway James Pattinson can "revolutionise the Australian cricket team" by batting at No.7 in the Test side and unlocking a fearsome four-pronged pace-attack.
Pattinson starred at the business end of the Shield season after returning from injury, showing he'd lost none of his trademark speed while simultaneously looking the part as a top-order batsman.
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The hostile paceman scored 244 runs at 34.85 to complement his 24 wickets at 17.81 in the five games he played after the Christmas break, forming an integral part of the Bushrangers' third-straight Shield title win.
Australia's selectors could face the unenviable task of fitting three of Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins (not to mention a host of other worthy fast-bowling candidates) and first-choice spinner Nathan Lyon into a four-man bowling-attack for November's first Ashes Test.
But White says Pattinson's batting ability means there's no reason why all five couldn't slot into one formidable bowling attack.
"I think James Pattinson can revolutionise the Australian cricket team," White declared on RSN.
"With what he can do now with bat and ball, he can change the whole look of the Australian cricket team.
"The keeper can bat at six, James Pattinson can bat seven, then you've got Starc who bats well, Cummins who bats well, then you've got Hazlewood and a free player.
"James is that good now that he can bat in that position."
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While Pattinson regularly bats in the top-order for his club side Dandenong, he hasn't ventured higher than No.8 for Victoria this season and has batted mainly at No.9 and 10 in his 17-Test career.
But the left-hander admitted during the Shield final in Alice Springs that he aspires to bat at No.7 and be considered a genuine allrounder.
He posted a vital 80 for Victoria in their first innings of the Shield decider, rescuing the side after they'd lost 3-7 by sharing in a gritty 383-ball seventh-wicket stand with Seb Gotch.
And White said Pattinson's batting, bowling and charged-up on-field leadership makes him the complete package.
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"He's one of our best batsmen now," the former Australia T20 captain said. "Technically he's very correct.
"He's brave, he occupies the crease, he knows his game well, he's made a lot of runs in Premier cricket. And then when he's not batting or bowling, he's still in the contest.
"He's an animal. He's yelling at them, screaming at them.
"He's just the type of player you want to play cricket with. He's an absolute asset to have on your team.
"He's just the first picked player in any team you want pick anywhere."
The possibility of the pace foursome all slotting into the same XI is enough to induce fear into any Test batting line-up, and former Australia quick Damien Fleming couldn't hide his enthusiasm at the thought of them playing together.
"This could be the greatest grouping of fast bowlers Australia has ever seen," Fleming said in response to White on RSN.
"We've seen Hazlewood keeps getting better and better, and he's got that consistency.
"Starc's just that X factor and we know when he gets it right he's world class.
"Cummins in India, there were guys who were backing away from him. If they're doing that on Indian tracks, imagine what he's going to do in (Australian) conditions.
"And I'd put 'Patto' as the same (category) as 'Cummo' – just that hostility.
"You talk about leaders of that attack, I don't know if Hazlewood and Starc are natural ones, but Patto's got that leadership on the field."
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2017-18 International Fixtures:
Men's Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night)
Third Test Perth TBC, December 14-18
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test)
ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14
Second ODI Gabba, January 19
Third ODI SCG, January 21
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2
T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21