Aussies plan to make sure Patto’s talents don’t go to waste
Fast bowler James Pattinson could be reprogrammed into a white-ball destroyer with Australia desperate to ensure its strike weapon's talent does not go to waste.
Coach Justin Langer conceded the fringe Test bowler was at risk of joining Jamie Cox, Stuart Law, Martin Love and Tom Moody as "great players" who were under-utilised purely because their prime years took place in the shadows of superstars.
But Pattinson, 30, looms as a World Cup smokey as Cricket Australia plots to win tournaments scheduled for 2021 (T20), 2022 (T20) and 2023 (ODI).
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Pattinson replaced Lasith Malinga at Mumbai Indians last year, and that shock Indian Premier League call-up has Langer rethinking his future plans for the burly paceman.
"His opportunities will come whether it's in red ball or, dare I say it, in white ball going forward," Langer told News Corp.
"That time in the IPL has enhanced his game, not just in Test cricket.
"We know he's talented. We weren't sure whether he wanted to play white-ball cricket because he was so passionate about getting back for Test cricket.
"He's done that now, so who knows what's on the horizon for him?"
Bizarrely, Pattinson has played just one match since returning from the IPL in November - a tour game against India at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.
Pattinson was not selected for the first two Tests and then suffered a rib injury which ruled him out of the final two Tests and the tail end of Melbourne Renegades' season.
But Pattinson is close to full fitness and, depending on the Sheffield Shield fixture, could play one game for Victoria before Australia departs for next month's Test series in South Africa.
Jhye Richardson is also likely to make that Test squad as Australia's pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Patrick Cummins gets set for some fresh blood.
But Langer said "Why not?" when asked if Pattinson could burst into Australia's World Cup squad.
"I've got great admiration for the way he's come back from back surgery, he's done some good things in Australia's Test team, and he went to the IPL late, did well and now he's got a taste for white-ball cricket as well," Langer said.
"James will stay ready he's a great bloke to have around the team.
"His energy is infectious, he's obviously very talented and he can bat and he can field as well."
Pattinson has played 21 Tests, including two during the 2019 Ashes series in England and another two against New Zealand last summer.
But Pattinson has not played any white-ball cricket for Australia in a long time.
Pattinson played the last of his 15 ODIs six years ago while it has been nine years since the enforcer's last T20 international for Australia.
Pattinson teamed up with Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah in Mumbai's all-star pace attack as he worked closely with former New Zealand great Shane Bond, who also coaches Sydney Thunder.
Pattinson bowled Steve Smith to take one of his 11 wickets in that maiden IPL campaign.
Originally published as Aussies plan to make sure Patto's talents don't go to waste