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Tim Paine saying 'prayers' for a fully fit James Pattinson for Ashes

Australia Test captain Tim Paine says he is not a man of faith but admits he has prayed more than once in recent times for a fully fit James Pattinson ahead of the Ashes series in England.

While Australia's ODI side is about to begin their World Cup defence in England, Paine is on the other side of the world quietly preparing to plot England's downfall in the Ashes series which follows in August.

"I'm not a religious man but I have said a few prayers when I've gone to bed at night in the last couple of months to make sure he's fit because I think he can clearly add a lot to our Test match team," Paine said in Melbourne on Thursday.

"I think the England guys have seen him bowl a lot in county cricket in the last couple of years. At times he's been quite devastating and I think that will be at the back of their minds. I think at times in this Ashes series, if he's fully fit, he's going to be a real weapon for us."

Pattinson is in England currently as well, on a stint with Nottinghamshire which is due to end on June 15 when he joins the Australia A one-day team for five 50-over games and three four-day games in the UK that will take place during the World Cup and prior to the Ashes, although those could well change.

Pattinson has not played since Nottinghamshire's Royal London 50-over Cup match against Northamptonshire on May 6 due to a niggling side strain, missing Notts' semi-final loss to Somerset and two four-day county championship fixtures in the meantime, but he is close to making a return.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Pattinson met with Australia coach Justin Langer in Southampton last week to map out a plan over the coming months, which is likely to include more four-day cricket for Nottinghamshire before the Australia A four-day matches in July.

Pattinson played his last Test for Australia in February 2016, a full 20 months before Paine was even reinstated as Australia's Test match wicketkeeper following a seven-year absence.

Pattinson hasn't played a Test in England since the 2013 Ashes series but a successful spine surgery after years of repeated stress fractures has helped him back to the cusp of Test cricket following a sensational finish to the Sheffield Shield season for Victoria.

Paine was also enthused by the news that Josh Hazlewood was in career-best shape following his World Cup selection snub.

"I think he was a bit stung," Paine said. "He's got a pretty good case, his numbers in one-day cricket are outstanding. He's a World Cup winner. I must admit when I've seen him speak about missing out, I think he is a bit dirty.

"I've seen some footage and some numbers on his fitness in the last three or four weeks, he's in the best condition he's ever been in and I think he's going to be cherry ripe come the first Ashes Test which is going to be really exciting for us."

Paine believes Hazlewood is primed for a big Ashes campaign after taking just 16 wickets in the unsuccessful 2015 series when much was expected of him.

"I think Josh knows himself, he was the one who brought it up. He said he didn't handle it well and I'm sure he's learnt a hell of a lot," Paine said. "He's a hell of a bowler and he's now had four more years of international cricket and I'm sure he knows exactly what he needs to fix to improve how he went in the last Ashes [in England]."

Paine himself has enjoyed a lengthy break having not played since Tasmania's Sheffield Shield season ended late March. He will captain the Australia A four-day squad in England but that does not commence until July 3. Next week, Paine will head to Brisbane with all members of the two Australia A squads taking part in a training camp with the exception of those, like Pattinson, who are currently in England.