By Bharath Ramaraj
James Pattinson is well and truly a dreaded fast bowler with his scorching pace, disconcerting bounce and piercing glare. The well-built Pattinson is your archetypal fast bowler. His 90-mph missiles can make a batsman look like a cat on the hot tin roof. His snarling, growling and sledging only serves to heighten the batsman’s misery.
On a typical hot and humid Saturday at Chennai, the raging Pattinson was breathing fire and brimstone to rattle the Indian top order. Murali Vijay didn’t have a clue, when a 90-mph swinging thunderbolt sent his stumps for a walk in the park. Pattinson then proceeded to send shock waves through India’s much-vaunted batting line-up, by taking the wickets of both Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Pattinson showed at Chennai that he is a thinking bowler. While bowling to Sachin Tendulkar he was intelligently using the crease to take advantage of reverse swing. He bowled a few well-disguised slower deliveries that almost outfoxed Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Pattinson has learnt the art of hiding the ball from a batsman’s view, while it is reversing. Here is a fast bowler who has a great variety of ammunition and someone the world is going to hear a lot about.
The hallmark of a good bowler is to get going when the going gets tough. Pattinson was able to garner respect even when Dhoni was on a rampage and nearing his double hundred. He exerted every sinew and was duly rewarded with a five-for in the Indian first innings.
In his short and successful Test career, Pattinson has ticked all the right boxes. He takes his wickets at a shade under 22. He has a big heart and bowls fast. The five-for he took at Chennai shows that he can hold his own on unresponsive tracks.
Former Australian swing bowler, Damien Fleming, said on Pattinson, ”When you are a tall guy like Pattinson and you can bowl 150-kmph outswingers, and you are pretty accurate, you are going to get a lot of Test wickets.”
The only major worry with Pattinson is that he seems to spend more time on a surgeon’s table than at the bowling crease. Back problems, foot injuries and side-strains have haunted him in the past. With a very busy season ahead, which includes back-to-back Ashes series, Pattingson has to be nurtured carefully by Cricket Australia to prevent him from breaking down.
His pace and hostility takes the onlookers to a bygone era. There can’t be a much better sight in cricket than watching stumps cartwheeling, bails flying and batsmen hopping and ducking to vicious bouncers. James Pattinson is indeed a sight to behold.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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