India A v Australia A - Four-Day
Patterson eyes Indian route to Pakistan Tests
NSW batter Kurtis Patterson out to try and convert his opportunity with Australia A into a spot in the Test squad
1 September 2018, 09:36 AM AEST
NSW Blues batsman Kurtis Patterson has declared he's ready for a move up the order as he prepares to push for a spot in Australia's Test team to face Pakistan.
With Queenslander Matthew Renshaw under an injury cloud, Patterson could find himself with the perfect opportunity to stake a claim with Australia A in Sunday's opening first-class fixture against India A in Bengaluru.
At least four spots in the Australian Test team to face Pakistan in the UAE in October are up for grabs, with Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell – both excused from this A Tour – seemingly the only selection locks from the batting stocks.
Patterson and Renshaw join Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and the uncapped Travis Head in the Australia A squad that will play two pressure-cooker four-day matches. Marnus Labuschagne has been added to the squad with Renshaw under an injury cloud with a hamstring complaint.
Patterson, who bats at first drop or No.4 for the NSW Blues in the JLT Sheffield Shield said he was ready to show he could move up the order and fill one of the vacancies created by the bans of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
"I like batting somewhere close to the top of the order, top three is always where most blokes want to bat and that's certainly where I enjoy batting the most," Patterson said from Bengaluru.
"I've been batting three for NSW for a couple of seasons and I really enjoyed having that opportunity up there to be able to perform.
"That's ideal for me but wherever I bat it doesn't really matter. I'm sure I can go out there and do a job."
The 25-year-old averages 41.11 in 50 first-class matches. He's scored 23 fifites, and gone on to reach a century five times, with a high score of 157.
That top score came in his first match in November 2011 when the then 18-year-old became the youngest man to score a Sheffield Shield century on debut for NSW.
He was the NSW Blues top-scorer last season with 672 runs at 37.33. His last first-class century came in October 2016 in a day-night round of Shield cricket.
Patterson arrived in Bengaluru several days head of the first-class component of the A Tour, at the back end of the one-day series to acclimatise early, underscoring his eagerness to impress.
But Patterson is vowing to not let the pressure-cooker atmosphere and cut-throat competition or Test spots impact his game.
“There’s obviously opportunities there we’re all aware of that but it’s certainly not affecting my preparation or the way I’m thinking about the game," he insisted.
“Like any game, I want to try and put runs on the board and put team in position to win that game.”
Patterson has experience with the fickle nature of Test selection; he was highly touted and in excellent form in November 2016 when Australia selectors promised a shake-up following a shambolic defeat to South Africa in Hobart.
Patterson, with a match-winning knock in the one-day cup final, a century and two fifites in the early rounds of that summer's Shield cricket to push his case, was ultimately overlooked for then NSW Blues teammate Nic Maddinson who debuted alongside Renshaw and Handscomb.
Australia A meet India A in Bengaluru on Sunday, and again from September 8.
Australia A Tour of India
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Four-day fixtures in Bengaluru
2-5 September v India A
8-11 September v India A