In James Pattinson, Lehmann sees valuable Ashes prospect
James Pattinson was ruled out of the BBL in January with an abdominal injury. (AFP Image)

Injuries have kept James Pattinson away from international cricket, but in him former coach Darren Lehmann seems to have found a strong fast bowling aspect for Australia in the Ashes. The Victoria pacer has time and again been hampered by injuries, but Lehmann, under whom Pattinson made his Ashes debut in 2013, is keen on seeing him feature in the marquee series provided he is fit.

“Pattinson’s the one I really want to see go,” Lehmann told Macquarie Sports Radio. “His record is unbelievable (in) County Cricket… so I think he does go. He’s one bowler that can really perform (in England).

“As long as he’s fit. He’s coming back from injury, as long he plays the last bit of Shield cricket and gets through I’ve got him in my touring squad.”

In 17 Tests, Pattinson has 70 wickets and has bowled with accuracy, pace and swing whenever he has been match-fit. His latest injury setback was during the Big Bash League where Pattinson sustained an abdominal injury but remains in contention to play a few Shield Games for Victoria. In 2017, playing for Northamptonshire in Division Two of County Championships, Pattinson took 32 wickets in five games and had received valuable inputs from teammate Stuart Broad.

“(Broad) was saying that he doesn’t try and swing the ball at all in England – it just naturally swings and he just worries about trying to put it on that length,” he had told cricket.com.au early in the summer. “In England, when you’re trying to swing the ball and trying to bowl full, the wickets aren’t quite as responsive as in Australia, so you struggle to get those big driving nicks that you get over here because the wickets are a bit slower.

“So it’s almost trying to bang that knee-roll length and using the wicket to get it to seam.”

In November last year, Pattinson had played his first FC match in 15 month having undergone a back surgery a year before. Having regained fitness, he played for Victoria in Sheffield Shield and the BBL in three injury-free months before being sidelined again last month. Last November, he had ambitiously revealed he was keen to play the Ashes 2019.

“The big goal would be to play in the Ashes next year,” he had told ESPNcricinfo. “But I know that there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before that happens and there’s a lot of games of cricket. Obviously, this is just the start of hopefully working towards that.”