Australia news May 21, 2012

James Pattinson close to full fitness

ESPNcricinfo staff

James Pattinson, the Australia fast bowler, has said he is recovering well from a back injury that ruled him out midway through the tour of the West Indies last month. Pattinson will train at Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane from Tuesday, and he expects to bowl at 100% intensity by the end of next week.

Pattinson hurt his back while fielding during the third day of the second Test in Trinidad. He was making a comeback after suffering a foot stress injury during the second Test against India at the SCG in January. He bowled 11 overs and took a wicket in the first innings, but didn't bowl in the second. Though he isn't back to full fitness, he was named in the squad for the ODIs against England and Ireland in June-July.

"I'm bowling about three times a week now at about 80% intensity and building that up and hopefully (I'll have) three weeks of going 100% in the nets before getting over to England," Pattinson told AAP.

"I'm looking for a bit of match intensity, so hopefully I can get out there in the middle. It'll mostly be white-ball practice with the one-dayers coming up."

The emergence of Pattinson and Pat Cummins has increased the pool of Australia's fast bowlers and the competition for places in the squad. Australia's coach, Mickey Arthur, hoped the Pattinson-Cummins combination would make their attack a force during the Ashes in 2013.

With an Australia A tour of England later this year, Pattinson wants to get used to the conditions before the Ashes, if picked.

"It's an exciting time for Australian cricket at the moment with a lot of young guys coming through," Pattinson said. "I don't think we've played in these conditions before so it'll be a great learning curve before the Ashes next year.

"Hopefully it gives us a bit of an edge over the Poms and we can go over to the Ashes with one up over them."