SYDNEY: Australia fast bowler James Pattinson will take an indefinite break from cricket and has been ruled out of the Ashes series against England after re-aggravating his lower back stress fracture, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old will continue his rehabilitation after pulling out of Australia’s recent tour of Bangladesh with inflammation in his back.
“We made the decision to withdraw him from the tour of Bangladesh and monitor his pain. He returned to bowling after a period of rest and unfortunately he is still experiencing pain with bowling,” CA science and sports medicine manager Alex Kountouris said in a statement.
“During this time we have been monitoring him, including regular scans and recent imaging has confirmed that James has begun to re-aggravate his previous lower back stress fracture.
“As such, he has discontinued bowling as part of his recovery which unfortunately means that he will be unavailable for the beginning of the Sheffield Shield and subsequently Ashes campaign.
“Whilst this is very disappointing that James has re-aggravated this old injury, we are confident that he can recover from this and return to playing.”
Pattinson’s unavailability ruins a potential fast-bowling quartet against England, made up of the Victorian right-arm quick and the New South Wales trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
“I’m especially disappointed to miss out on the possibility to play in a home Ashes series,” said Pattinson. “Over the next few weeks I will discuss all available options available to me with medical staff, to work out the best plan to prevent this from happening again.”
Meanwhile, Starc warned England to expect a repeat of the carnage caused by Mitchell Johnson four years ago when Australia unleash their pace attack in the upcoming Ashes Tests.
A fully firing Australian attack looks formidable, with spearhead Starc returning this week from a foot injury to vie for a place with Cummins, Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jackson Bird.
With England’s top order largely unproven, Starc said it could be much like the 2013-14 Ashes, when the mustachioed Johnson took 37 wickets with terrifying pace as Australia won 5-0.
“We’ve got a really solid attack and we complement each other,” he said in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
“If it’s not me, you’ve got Pat Cummins who can bowl fast bouncers and Josh Hazlewood bowling consistent line and length.
“It’ll be much like that attack did when Johnno took all those wickets, I think we complement each other really well.
“Throw in Jackson Bird, and Coulter-Nile is back bowling really well. So we’ve got five really good guys there.”
With Starc again raring to go, England are in a state of disarray ahead of their arrival in late October.
As well as an unsettled batting line-up, they could be without talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is suspended until further notice after his arrest during a night out.
Starc believes there is a chance for Australia’s bowlers to land early psychological blows on England, whose top order is relatively inexperienced aside from Alastair Cook and skipper Joe Root.
“They’ve obviously got Root and Cook up the top, who have played a lot of cricket and are probably their main guys with the bat,” he said.
“The guys in the top order around them are pretty inexperienced and, hopefully, we can exploit that here in our home conditions.”
Despite this, Starc is not underestimating England, even without Stokes.
“He probably makes their team a bit more balanced but he’s not the be all and end all of their team. There’s plenty of guys we need to worry about.”
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2017