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James Pattinson

'Still got a lot of cricket left' – Pattinson thrilled with injury-free run

Australia news

Australia fast bowler James Pattinson, who has often struggled with injury in the past but is now enjoying the longest injury-free period of his career, is aiming to play back-to-back Test matches soon.

The right-arm pacer, who has claimed 75 wickets in just 19 Tests, has had several injury setbacks in his eight-year international career. He was sidelined midway through the 2013 and 2017 Ashes due to back injuries and underwent a spinal surgery a couple of years ago.

Australia adopted a workload-management policy with him during the 2019 Ashes, where they refrained from playing him in consecutive Tests. The results were promising: Pattinson returned five wickets in two games and also scored 47 unbeaten runs in Birmingham.

More importantly, he remained fit at the end of the tour, and ready for the domestic season back home. "When I got back from England, I didn't know what to do because usually, I'd be nursing a stress fracture," he explained. 

James Pattinson has enjoyed an injury-free run for almost a year
James Pattinson has enjoyed an injury-free run for almost a year

"To rock up, have four days off and bowl again – I was like, 'what's this all about?' It's things like that where you pinch yourself and go, 'this is good, things are starting to line up a little bit'. Still not being 30 yet, I've still got a lot of cricket left."

The team landed in Australia from England in mid-September, and the 29-year-old played his first game of the One-day Cup on 29 September, returning 3/56 in 10 overs. The team's management of him had worked.

"What we've done in the past with James is got him back, we know how good he is, so we keep using him and keep bowling him, and eventually, he's broken again," skipper Tim Paine had said, explaining the decision to rest Pattinson in the second Test at Lord's. "He's available for selection but we've decided to rest him for this game and make sure that his long-term future is in really good shape." 

Pattinson's next goal is to play consecutive Tests for Australia. Representing Victoria in the Sheffield Shield, he has managed increased workloads well in the last few months. He played back-to-back first-class games at the beginning of the tournament, sat out the third game and is now back for their ongoing contest against Queensland. 

"The next process for me now, if I do get the chance in the Test arena, is the chance to play more back-to-back cricket," he said. "I've been injury-free for the best part of a year now and the body is feeling good. Hopefully, that's the next progression."

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