Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here
James Pattinson hopes to be part of Australia's squad for the last few games of the Commonwealth Bank Series after recovering from an injury to his left foot. Pattinson will make his return for Victoria in a Futures League four-day match in Adelaide starting on Monday, and he is confident that if he gets through that game unscathed he will be able to slot straight back into the national side.
Pattinson was sidelined after playing the first four Tests of Australia's home summer. Those games, against New Zealand and India, came in the space of a month and Pattinson conceded that having played only nine first-class matches before his Test debut, the sudden spike in his workload had been challenging.
But he has been bowling in the nets for the past fortnight and made his comeback to club cricket last weekend, though as a batsman only. Pattinson said his recovery had gone to plan and he was ready to move out of the nets and on to the field, although he believed he would be better off coming back in the lower-pressure atmosphere of the Futures League, where he can ease in to his rhythm, than playing for the Bushrangers.
"It was just a bit of bruising on there," Pattinson said of his foot. "All it [needed] was a bit of rest and that swelling would go down. That's happened and it's gone down perfectly and it looks to be fine. I've got no trouble with the foot. Now it's just trying to get my workload back up there to Test cricket standards, and don't go out there too hard and [injure] a side or something like that. I've just got to take it easy to start with and just build in to it.
"In the period of time when I was playing Test cricket I'd never really [played that long]. I'd played two Shield games in a row and that's the most cricket I've had. I suppose it was just my bones and my body wasn't hard enough for Test cricket at that stage. Hopefully now I can get back and have a bit of rest and get some workload back in to my body."
Provided he does not have any injury setbacks, Pattinson is a certainty to be part of Australia's tour of the West Indies in March and April. First, he hopes he can show the selectors he is ready to be included in Australia's squad before the end of the tri-series, which finishes with an Australia-Sri Lanka clash at the MCG in two weeks, followed by the finals.
"That's definitely the plan," he said. "We've got a game out here [at the MCG] and then the final. I'm looking forward to playing this Futures game and getting a bit of workload into my body and then slotting back in to the one-day series."
Pattinson said he would need to be cautious during the Futures League match and conceded he was not ready for a match at full intensity, which will mean careful management of his spells. But he said he had no serious concerns about getting through the four-day encounter despite his lack of cricket over the past six weeks.
"Not at all," he said. "My body is feeling fine. It's just that thing of going from not bowling at all to bowling a lot in a short space of time. That's when you're more vulnerable - not saying you're going to get injured but you are at your most vulnerable to get injured at those stages.
"I'm probably not ready to go at 100%. If I was playing Shield cricket, Shippy [coach Greg Shipperd] would be on my back trying to get 100% out of me knowing that we can make the final. I'm not ready for that at the moment. If I don't get picked in the one-day series it might be an option to go back and play [Shield]."