James Pattinson will be back in Sheffield Shield action for Victoria Friday.
James Pattinson will be back in Sheffield Shield action for Victoria Friday. Ross Setford

Ashes hopes high on Pattinson's agenda

CRICKET: James Pattinson has had more comebacks than John Farnham but he is hoping the latest one finish with an Ashes Test series.

The fast bowler has only played 12 first-class matches since the middle of 2013 but will be part of the Victorian team which will take on South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Reports coming out of the Vics camp ahead of the top-of-the-table clash tomorrow are saying the 26-year-old has been bowling with some serious pace in training and second XI games.

After being plagued by injuries and remodelling his bowling action over the past few years, Pattinson said he just needed to be out in the middle again.

Pattinson said his long-term goal was to make the Ashes squad for the home series next summer but at this stage was focused on his immediate future.

"Being a fast bowler, there's always risk,” he said yesterday.

"It's a hard job. I'm getting to that age where I just need to play cricket.

"I'm hoping I can play all these Shield games (for the rest of the season) and can get a lot of cricket under my belt.

"I'm 26 so I just need to play cricket now and get that hardening into my body. Over the last three years I haven't had that.

"I'm a big believer in the more you bowl, the more accustomed your body becomes to bowling.

"If you go from bowling not much to bowling 40 or 50 overs in a Test match, you're bound to break down.

"The best way for my back to get better is to just play more cricket and get my body accustomed to it.

"Back when I was 21 and 22 I felt like I played a lot of cricket then and my back was pretty good through that stage.”

His last two comebacks have both gone down a similar path.

He helped Australia to win a series and the world No.1 Test ranking in Cape Town three years ago before a long stint on the sidelines with stress fractures in his back.

Pattinson then was part of four Test matches last summer before another long enforced break with foot and back problems.

Previously there has beena softly, softly approach on his return to cricket.

But Pattinson said this time round he just wanted to be treated the same as any other player.

"That was one of the things I didn't want, was to come into a game having restrictions,” he said.

"I'm definitely not going in underdone, which is one of the good things for me.

"I wanted to get a lot of cricket under my belt before I did play any four-day cricket so I'm happy I've done that.

"They're coming out really well so hopefully I can get over there and contribute to a winning team.”



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