Fast and furious. That’s what James Pattinson was when he thundered in and delivered thunderbolts against the Indians down under last season. The ball flew off the track leaving the Indian batsmen with bruised limbs and dented egos in the 2011-12 series. This time around, the conditions will be different.
Instead of raw speed or seam, it could be swing, rather reverse swing, that might provide the cutting edge to an attack likely to be heavily dependent on pace even on the sub-continental tracks. The ball moving the other way could breach defences, alter scripts.
“Reverse swing will be a big factor here,” said the 22-year-old James Pattinson after the first practice session of the full Australian team here on Thusrday. The SG ball, to be used for the series, also tended to disintegrate faster, assisting bowling of this kind, he added.
Role for new ball also
Pattinson, who calls himself “a fast and aggressive bowler,” felt the new ball could play a role as well. “You want to make the batsmen play more with the new ball till the time it is hard and new. That is when the batsmen too will go for the shots as the ball comes nicely on to the bat. More the ball gets older, the harder it is to get runs. So early on, you have to make the batsmen play strokes, This will probably be the way we’ll try and attack the Indians on the tour.”
The Victorian has 31 wickets in just seven Tests at 22.09 and his strike rate of 40.4 is admirable. But then, six of his Tests have come in Australia and in his lone away Test, in the West Indies in 2012, he claimed just one wicket at 40.00.
Pattinson looks big and strong but like so many of the present-day Australian bowlers, has already broken down on several occasions. Asked about reasons for his frequent fitness travails that include a side strain and a fracture of the foot, he answered, “Probably, I was trying to bowl at my fastest with every ball.” Pattionson said the Australians would not be averse to hustling the Indian batsmen even on these tracks. “We would be bowling the bouncers, then pitch some up and try to disturb the batsmen’s footwork.”
Siddle, the leader
Peter Siddle, he acknowledged, would be the leader of the Aussie pack on this Indian campaign. Pattinson added, “Jackson Biird has come into the side. Then, we have Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc, who are exciting left-arm pacemen. We all offer something different as well.”
The pace attack, he reiterated, could open sluicegates and orchestrate turnarounds.
Although relieved that Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman were not a part of the Indian line-up he was not willing to write the home team batting off.
“Sachin Tendulkar has just scored a hundred in domestic cricket and Virender Sehwag will be dangerous upfront.”
Skipper Michael Clarke will provide the inspiration to the Australian batting, he felt. “He is among the finest batsmen against spin in the world and could play the role Alastair Cook did for England in India.”
The competition for the pace bowling slots in the Australian team would be intense but Pattionson was not short of belief.