Pattinson wants Test-proven bowling coach
James Pattinson, Craig McDermott's most prominent pupil during a compelling year as Australia's bowling coach, wants Cricket Australia to choose a long-term replacement with Test match experience, describing such knowledge of international bowling as a "must" for whoever is appointed.
CA are set to commence formal interviews for McDermott's replacement at the conclusion of Australia's tour of England and Ireland but the team performance manager, Pat Howard, has already spoken with the former Pakistan captain and coach Waqar Younis. Tasmania bowling coach Ali de Winter is another contender, and will work in a caretaker capacity with Australia's fast men on this tour. Pattinson was adamant that the permanent role should go to a coach with international experience to call upon.
"It's fantastic to have someone as your bowling coach who has had that experience at Test level or [of] international cricket. I think it's almost a must now, with the amount of cricket that we play, to have someone around the squad who has all that experience in there," Pattinson told ESPNcricinfo. "For me it is a bit of an emotional roller coaster playing Test cricket, as I've found out over the six months I've been involved. So to have someone who has that experience and has done that before is outstanding, and definitely a must."
McDermott had an unmistakeable impact on Pattinson's bowling, encouraging the fuller length and unstinting line that laid waste to New Zealand and India in four Tests before a foot injury halted the 22-year-old's progress. He returned for one Test in the West Indies and tweaked his back when throwing from the outfield, but is now fully fit for duty in the UK. In the meantime, McDermott called an end to his touring with Australia for family reasons, leaving Pattinson to deal with the loss of a major influence on his progress.
"It is tough [without McDermott]. The bowling group were very happy with his input into the team, he did a fantastic job, especially for the young guys coming into the team and trying to find their way," Pattinson said. "I'm a bit disappointed to see him go, but that's life. Family things take a toll sometimes. It is sad to see him go, but he's only ever a phone call away and he's hopefully going to be there for the rest of my career giving me advice.
"I think for me in the West Indies, with such a good start I had [against India], I tried to do a bit too much with the ball and tried to take too many wickets - but the good thing is he's told me to keep it pretty simple and everything else will take care of itself. It's great to have him in the back of my mind, [someone] who I can give a call to and get some more advice."
De Winter will need to earn the trust of Australia's bowlers, though his widely admired work with Tasmania's seam and swing bowlers has preceded him. "We've had little bit of a chat, he's pretty fresh to me, I haven't had a lot to do with him over my career," Pattinson said. "But from all reports he's a fantastic bowling coach and he's done really well for Tasmania as you've seen over the last couple of years with their success with their fast bowling brigade. So he's another great inclusion into our squad of staff."
Having arrived in London ahead of a first tour match against Leicestershire on June 21, Pattinson is warming up for a trip that will provide him with valuable knowledge about how to bowl in England. Australia have one ODI against Ireland and five against England, before an Australia A tour will allow Pattinson and others to practice with the Dukes ball in a first-class environment.
"The conditions are pretty good for swing bowling over here, so it's just about my adjusting my skills to the situation and what the pitches throw up," Pattinson said. "It's almost a year to the Ashes, so I'll be doing my best to get as much knowledge of these pitches and tap into some knowledge of past bowlers as well, how they've gone over here and how they've succeeded."
As the younger brother of Darren Pattinson, who played one Test for England, James Pattinson has plenty of close links to the UK, and was understandably keen to make himself known in the land of his father. "My family's from here so it is a place I've always wanted to go and compete and play cricket," he said. "It's going to be a good lead-in for me going into the Ashes and get some experience over here, so I'm looking forward to it."
"With my brother it's always good to have someone who's got great knowledge of playing over here and the conditions to ring up and have a chat to. I'll be having a chat to him in more detail in the days to come."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here