Australia news March 21, 2017

Pattinson at his peak for Shield final

ESPNcricinfo staff
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File photo - James Pattinson has claimed 20 wickets in the past four Sheffield Shield games © Getty Images

Victoria will enter the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia with James Pattinson bowling as well as he ever has in his career, according to senior batsman Aaron Finch. Pattinson destroyed Queensland by claiming 5 for 7 in the second innings of Victoria's final regular game last week, and had also run through Western Australia with a five-wicket haul in Alice Springs in the previous round.

Pattinson had been out of action due to injury for nearly a year when he returned for the BBL and the second half of the Shield summer, and he has spoken of his desire to get through the Shield season before being considered for national selection. Finch said Pattinson was bowling as well as he had in his career, though scarily for opponents he appeared to still be bowling within himself.

"When he gets his tail up and the ball is shifting in the air slightly, it's a different ball game," Finch said. "He's someone who has obviously got pace. I think it took a couple of games for him to find his rhythm back again. I think he was, probably by his own admission, a little bit off the mark in his first couple of Shield games back.

"But that second-innings spell against WA up in Alice - to knock them over when they were starting to build a nice lead, was unbelievable. Then he kept that going in Brisbane. He looks like he's bowling within himself, but still fast and with a lot of control. He's obviously very passionate and when he gets his tail up, he can be hard to stop.

"I don't know if I have seen him bowl better than this at the moment. I think that he is really comfortable where his action is at and where his body is at. Not being a fast bowler, I can't imagine the mental toughness that it takes to get through injury after injury, doing all your rehab, getting back, then being back in the gym doing your rehab again. He's just really comfortable with where his game is at."

Pattinson could be a key factor in Victoria's push to win a third consecutive Sheffield Shield title, a hat-trick that New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have all achieved but the Bushrangers have not. The final against the Redbcaks begins on Sunday at Traeger Park in Alice Springs, which has become a second home for Victoria in recent years due to the unavailability of the MCG due to AFL season.

"I think the wicket up in Alice is reasonably slow by nature," Finch said. "I don't think that good players are generally worried by pace, they're more worried by movement. If you can move the ball at 135, it's a lot tougher to face than someone who doesn't swing it at 145. But he [Pattinson] has got all the attributes at the moment to knock over a side.

"The great thing about us at the moment is we've got guys bowling beautifully around him. Chris Tremain is in great form, Scott Boland came in in the last game and had a real impact when he got the ball in his hand. Along with Jon Holland … it's a nice balanced attack we've got at the moment.

"The boys love it up there. A couple of weeks ago was my first time playing up there. It's a great ground, it's great facilities. The way that the town up there welcomes us is fantastic. I think we've played five games over the last two and a bit years. It's a place the boys love playing. It suits our style of play."

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  • laksvi5642713 on March 24, 2017, 11:10 GMT

    @ Jay Gadson, Chris, CRICFAN00804820 , my 'aussie m8'-Dunger....cheers guys for firstly responding and responding so nicely..... (have had my head ripped off on certain blogs....lol).... just a question out of curiosity....if you were the aus skipper...and had Starc, Pat, hazelwood & pattinson....(now that would surely rival the windies quartet of the 80'-i hope this comes true some day-mouth watering prospect)....who'd you open with - who first change, who'd be your battering ram-long spells bowler, who'd you back with the semi- new ball for the reverse? i'd go with starc (just because of the variety-left arm angle) and cummins - ball hard and bouncy-pitch green and juicy, pattinson-would be my long spells -battering ram-merv hughes/ryan harris kind of bowler, hazle on from the 20th over and starc from the 26-30 to get benefit of reverse.... -aint easy eh? wonder how clive loyd juggled those legendary quicks....

  • richmo2540222 on March 21, 2017, 23:47 GMT

    @testcricrox . I wouldn't read too much into it mate. The poor bloke is just coming back from injury. Both he and the selectors probably thought he wasn't quite ready to go to india

  • Peter on March 21, 2017, 23:24 GMT

    @TESTCRICROX He's just come back from injuries. He did play a few BBL games & when Cummins flew out, he had played one FC game since his return so I think he felt he wasn't anywhere near close enough to the grind of internationals, & given the amount of bowling that was required in Ranchi, probably not a bad decision given his recent inactivity. His recent game was done at the same time of the 3rd Test but who was to know if he could have held up. He took on the decision to go to English county cricket to develop his bowling & get some "miles" under his feet as he has had too little cricket recently. I think if he were asked now, he would stick his hand up & say he's ready, only players themselves know how well their body is. Having been over there 4 years ago & was one of very few players who did well,m he would know how tough it was for quick bowlers so I think it was a wise choice, he wants to be around for a while so better to be sure than risk potential long term injuries. Cheers.

  • rob on March 21, 2017, 22:25 GMT

    @ TESTCRICROX: Yeah, it's pretty much like Jay Gadson said. There was talk that it might be all over for him when he picked up that latest injury. Retirement was a real threat I heard. He wants to play Test cricket again but he also wants to make sure he's ready for what might be his final crack at it. He's looking longer term and just trying to stay on the field for the moment. .. Besides, we already have Cummins on the 'watch carefully' list. We don't need another one, that's for sure.

  • Brendan on March 21, 2017, 22:07 GMT

    Given that shield isn't a spectator sport anymore, couldn't they have the final venue pre-determined before the season and rotated through the states. It make it easy to reserve an oval, and stop flat pitches from the home team.

  • darren4415767 on March 21, 2017, 21:30 GMT

    A huge talent. Could be a major force in England, NZ or SA where the ball moves a bit. I just hope his back holds up. I think it's a good idea not rushing him back. A pace attack of Pattinson, Starc, Hazelwood and Cummins would be as good a 4 as England 2005 or even WI in the 80s. And it's possible, since Patto, Starc and Cummins can all bat. Imagine bringing that combo to the Oval or Lords.

  • Jeff on March 21, 2017, 20:32 GMT

    1st ashes test attack.. starc pattinson cummins hazlewood with maxwell as allrounder (if smith will bowl him). Frightening stuff!

  • Jay Gadsdon on March 21, 2017, 13:22 GMT

    @testcricrox he has had many injuries his mind will allow him to test himself with 4day game 1st. He even got an apprenticeship to start his trade. The bloke even though hes one of the best in the world at fast bowling say easily top 20 just needs time. Its no arrogance mate hes like 26 and had multiple injuries too many and he will have to retire and be stuck for work aswell. Hes also been rushed back too many times only to miss the next test. He's being realistic thats all and good to see. Hope cummins isnt injured after the next test

  • laksvi5642713 on March 21, 2017, 10:57 GMT

    as an indian fan of true pace bowling, if he is good enough to play shield cricket and also heard he got a county contract, why is he not playing against us-remenber reading somewhere asked not to be picked to play against india, ...doesnt that smack of a certain arrogance or taking yourplace for granted? i am aghast at missing out at watching a true top class pace bowler on our patch...that and also is'nt his decision to sit out against india a tad disrespectful to the other aus greats who've bent their back and slugged it out in india, like kaspro, mcgrath, lee, etc..... my 5c rant...all the best to him from india...hope to see him in action in test cricket soon

  • Mashuq on March 21, 2017, 8:12 GMT

    Good news for the national team. Hope Pattinson stays fit in England and gets a chance to tour Bangladesh before the Ashes. He needs to be in the squad asap.

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