Pattinson: deep inside enemy territory

The Sunday Times talks to James Pattinson about playing for Nottinghamshire this season. 

James Pattinson let out a guilty little laugh at the suggestion that he was on a spying mission ahead of Australia’s next Ashes tour by playing for Nottinghamshire this season. “Yes it is, a little bit . . . ” he said. How could it not be when he gets to use the Duke ball in English conditions, and have a close look at prospective opponents?

Hours earlier, he had heard that his stunning championship form — he was averaging 148 with the bat and 12.9 with the ball at the time — had been rewarded with inclusion in the Australia squad for the Champions Trophy in June, bringing closer the moment when the “Big Four” of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Pattinson line up together.

Many Australians want to see this pace quartet bearing down on England in the Test at The Gabba in November and Pattinson confirmed that getting them firing together “is something Cricket Australia has been working on for a long time”.

Perhaps the best thing for Pattinson is that he is working closely with Stuart Broad, scourge of Australia on the very Trent Bridge ground on which Pattinson was speaking: the man who didn’t walk when caught at slip in 2013 (a match in which Pattinson was playing) and who on a crazy August morning two years ago cut an eight-for-15 size hole in their batting, and hearts. Urged by David Saker, Australia’s fast bowling coach, to learn all he could from Broad, Pattinson has vowed to “pick his brain as much as he’ll let me”.

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