England Lions Tour of Australia
Patterson keen for early look at England's Ashes hopefuls
NSW batter Kurtis Patterson has an eye on next week's Australia A clash as he looks to force his way back into the Test reckoning
13 February 2020, 02:22 PM AEST
The next Ashes series is still two years away but Australia A batter Kurtis Patterson is relishing the chance to inflict mental scars on a touring English side next week in Melbourne.
Patterson will line up for a strong Australia A in next week's four-day pink-ball clash against England Lions at the MCG as part of the visitors five-week Australian tour and hopes to land an early blow on the English ahead of the 2021-22 Ashes series on home soil.
"It's always nice to play an English team," Patterson told reporters on Thursday.
"It's always nice to potentially leave some scars and a pink-ball game offers up some fresh challenges, so that should be a good week."
Patterson was part of the Australia A squad that toured England last year and faced a high-quality Lions side in Canterbury as part of Australia's Ashes preparation.
Cricket Australia has reciprocated in picking a formidable Australia A team for the day-night clash, with 10 of the 12 players selected boasting international experience.
It follows the near Test-strength 'A' team that was chosen to face Pakistan at the start of the summer, as the batting unit battled for spots in the national side ahead of the first Test in Brisbane.
The decision to make the Australia A team a second XI has been widely endorsed by the players, including Patterson who says it is a welcome change from years gone by.
Indeed, it was Patterson's twin tons for Australia A against the touring Sri Lankans in Hobart last January that thrust him into the Test XI for his debut
"I think a lot of credit goes to CA there – certainly the feel among the playing group is that it's a genuine second XI Australian team now which wasn't really the case for a few years there," Patterson said.
"It's a much different feeling now. The guys understand they're close, there's a bit of added pressure in those games now – it's not just a hit around for the young players of potential, it's a genuine second XI."
While the cricket schedule is already bursting at the seams, Patterson says he would love to see more Australia A games on the calendar.
"Personally, I'd love to see them pre-Test series," he said.
"I understand the Lions are here – we had a great tour in the UK – they've brought a team out so it's important for them to get some good competition.
"We had one game against Pakistan earlier on in the summer so it would be nice to have one or two pre-Test summer personally.
"But it's always nice to be included so I'm not complaining about getting the chance in Melbourne next week."
Patterson will make his Marsh Sheffield Shield return tomorrow for NSW's clash with Victoria at the Sydney Cricket Ground after sustaining a quad injury playing for the Blues against Tasmania last October.
The left-hander spent three months rehabbing the injury before playing three games with his new KFC BBL club Perth Scorchers.
Twelve months ago Patterson was Australia's incumbent No.6 and fresh off scoring a maiden Test hundred against Sri Lanka in Canberra, but the returns of Steve Smith and David Warner from suspension and the irresistible form of Matthew Wade meant the 26-year-old lost his place.
But having spoken to national selector Trevor Hohns and being selected in the Australia A squad, Patterson says he feels in contention for a Test recall.
"I had one phone call from Trevor Hohns pretty soon after I did my quad and just had a bit of a chat," he said.
"There might have been an Aussie A game on pre the Test series and he was just letting me know I was obviously going to miss with the quad (injury). He didn't need to do that which was nice of him.
"Then we spoke last week about the upcoming 'A' game.
"It's always nice when you get included in those teams so you know you're there or thereabouts."