The Investec Ashes 2013 July 23, 2013

Tearful Pattinson falls victim to batting failures


Not only has Australia's dreadful batting cost the team a 2-0 deficit after as many Investec Ashes Tests, it has now claimed a human casualty in the form of the young fast bowler James Pattinson. Fighting back tears the morning after he was diagnosed with a back stress fracture that has ended his tour, Pattinson admitted that a lack of rest between bowling innings at Lord's had contributed to his injury.

It had been thought that the older and injury-prone Ryan Harris would be most susceptible to physical breakdown after little more than three hours separated England's first and second innings at Lord's, but it was Pattinson who suffered most. He felt stiffness on the second day and grew increasingly worried as it worsened across the match. His dismissal by Graeme Swann on the fourth evening after an innings of admirably stubborn refusal to yield will be Pattinson's last memory of the series.

"When you go out doing what you do it's hard on the body and in an ideal world you'd like a bit more rest than that. It's far from ideal," Pattinson said. "You go out there and put your body on the line and you're playing for your country ... once I get a bit more mature, I've said it a thousand times before, but I'm still hoping one day my body is going to mature and I'll be able to do that back-up not just for two Tests but five.

"It could have been worse, but it's pretty shattering something you've worked so hard for is taken away. It's a hard road ... it's not as bad as what it was before in the past when I've had six to twelve months out of the game, which is pretty hard and a few lonely days in the MCG gym getting back towards playing. So I'll go through that again but I'm in a positive frame of mind that one day it'll get better and hopefully it does, so fingers crossed."

In the conversations Pattinson had on Monday night after learning of the extent of his ailment, the name of England's spearhead James Anderson was raised as a source of hope. Having endured his own nightmarish run of injuries as a younger man, Anderson has matured into a bowler as durable as he is skilful, illustrated by his ability to bowl a 13-over spell to help England to victory in Nottingham before backing up at Lord's.

"That has been thrown up overnight, in conversations about Jimmy Anderson, whose career started with a lot of injuries," Pattinson said. "There are a dozen other bowlers in the same position. You live in hope that one day it will go away. I am only 23. I am pretty happy with what I have achieved in the game so far but I would like to have fewer setbacks. I am a pretty strong person and I think I can bounce back strong and come back bigger better and stronger than I did last time."

As for his own approach to bowling, which so far has erred on the side of full throttle just about every ball of his life, Pattinson said as he matured he would learn how better to move up and down through the gears, much as Anderson and Dale Steyn have done.

"In games you can sum up when it is swinging. It is not in my personal makeup to go out and not give 100 percent. I like bowling fast," Pattinson said. "Dale Steyn sometimes bowls within himself and picks the right time to go hard. I am not at that stage yet. I have to go 100 percent to make sure I am in the team and performing for my country. When I get older there will be times I can do that.

"At training I go pretty hard too. I can look at that. Personally, the only way is to give everything you got. I am very proud of representing Australia and it is something I love doing. It is disappointing to work your arse off and have it taken away."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • adeel on July 26, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    the bowlers of 80s and earlier, used to get their strength from surprise surpsie from bowling hours on in the nets. there was no fancy gyms or anything like that. the body got used to bowling long spells. not saying it should be done without any gym work, but it seems these days players are more interested in looking pretty by hitting the gym too much

  • Peter on July 26, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    2MikeGattings. I agree you are way too hard on on Hughes. being the youngest batsmen to have scored a century in each innings, & against Steyn & Co on a quick pitch would suggest he has more than a little talent. Having seen him play for the first 5 years or so of his first class career for NSW I can assure you, he lacks nothing with any of his shots playing all types of bowling with almost ridiculous ease with a somewhat alternate technique. At some point, some batting "coach" decided he looked ungainly & worked on improving his "technique". The result was the befuddled guy in 2009, he batted nothing like he had been doing & he is slowly, albeit very slowly, returning to the process that vaulted him to the national side. Matthew Hayden, fti, after 10 tests had one century & averaged 26 & he didn't do too bad in his overall career I would suggest. The problem he has is that he in a side that is struggling with the bat while he is on a learning curve.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    Bird Harris Siddle Starc quicks and Lyons for spin,don't need another batsmen because the tail score the bulk of the runs. Maybe its a challenge for the batters to score runs knowing we have 5 bowlers. Agar had a great start and one to look out for, but his left armers just didn't deliver on a spin friendly wicket. Bird is a must for the Aussie team, Tall right are fast med with good accuracy, bit like a Glenn McGrath.

  • H on July 25, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    @2MikeGattings lots of players from England or Australia struggle against spinners when they make the jump up to international cricket. He's hardly alone in that.

    As for the other specialist openers, Rogers is a 35 year old with an excellent record at First Class level, but who has looked average, at best, so far in his Test career. I think he just looks better because of the shambles that is the rest of the top order.

    Cowan looked solid and disciplined until this tour, and then he looked anything but up at Trent Bridge. That's why even his staunchest supporters felt he needed to be dropped for Lord's. He needs to remember what kind of batsman he is, and stick to being that. But even then, I'm not sure he'll ever be a match-winner.

    Between them David Warner and Phil Hughes have 83 Test innings. Watson has 79. In those 79 he has 2 hundreds. They have 6.

    The question isn't why the Australian selectors favour Hughes, but why they never seem to question Shane Watson's place.

  • Tom on July 25, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    @HZO No question Hughes has talent but he has been repeatedly found out at the top level. When he came on the scene got a deluge of 1st class runs but test batsmen have to adapt their game and he has been easy to limit. I'm sure he would prefer going in at the top of the order because his technique against spin looks inadequate. If that is a requirement then he shouldn't get picked: there are already 2 specialist openers in the side.

  • H on July 25, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    @2MikeGattings have to disagree with you about Hughes. I think he's a talent, but needs to play like he did up at Trent Bridge. In all the excitement over Agar's near century, people overlooked the guy quietly making his way to 81 at the other end.

    This obsession over Hughes' technique is funny. Here's a few other lefties with far from textbook technique: Chanderpaul, Katich and Graeme Smith.

    After 26 Tests Michael Clarke had 1501 runs at 42.88 with 4 hundreds, batting at 5 and 6 for most of that time below Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Katich, Hussey and Lehmann himself. After 26 Tests Ricky Ponting had 1525 runs at 39.10, with 3 hundreds, all scored at 6 below Mark Taylor and both Waugh brothers.

    After 26 Tests Hughes has 1535 runs at 32.65, with 3 hundreds, all scored opening the batting, all scored away from home (two in South Africa, one in Sri Lanka). The boy can bat. If anything, the selectors have mishandled him, dropping him, moving him around the order constantly.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Call in Dennis Lillee he had a major back problem(it was back then) an he came back a much better bowler,just to give advice to ALL fast men how to be more effective with fast bowling.

  • Tom on July 25, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    @HZO I agree about KP, the noises were that he would probably be passed fit, although whether he can summon the motivation to put together a score in what is almost a dead rubber is highly questionable.

    I really don't get why Hughes is so highly favoured by the Aussie selectors. I reckon if he gets any kind of score at Sussex they will keep him in the side and drop the perennial fall guy Khawaja for Warner. Smith will be retained, on a bunsen at OT he is likely to play Swann as well as anyone in the side and his random tweakers will offer a contrast to Lyons steady offbreaks.

  • Dummy4 on July 25, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Instead of Changing the White Ball every 25 overs, change your fast bowlers. Bring a new set of fast bowlers in each innings for the Test matches. This is the only way to protect these new age Fast and brittle men.

  • Don on July 25, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    Rotten news Patto, but look forward to seeing you when you are fit and firing again.

    I reckon that Pattinson has the right combination of pace, movement and a fast bowler's mean streak to succeed long term in Test cricket.

    Patto can take inspiration from Peter Siddle's journey to becoming a front line Test quick. Those who are interested can check out Sid's bio on Cricinfo - he had to overcome a potentially soul destroying series of injuries: shoulder reconstruction, shoulder dislocation, stress fractures and foot problems.

    It's clear that utter resolve and commitment to do whatever work was needed, for as long as needed, was what got Siddle through all this, when lesser competitors would have given up.

    Personally I reckon that Patto has the same commitment and ultimately will come back as a top level Test quick.