LEADER OF THE PACK
James Pattinson has emerged as the leader of Australia’s newly re-built pace battery looking to catapult the team back to the top of cricket’s world rankings. That starts with the upcoming Ashes series with Australia looking to win back the famous urn.
How long have you dreamt of playing in an Ashes series?
Ever since I started playing cricket when I was six. It’s just everything. Playing in an Ashes series is the ultimate. You probably don’t realise that as much until you get involved in one. I was in the car the other day driving to training and really thinking about how special it’s going to be. It’s going to be amazing to be involved in the series and hopefully I can get in that final 11 for the first test.
It’s an interesting family dynamic. Your brother Darren has played test cricket for England. No doubt there will be a bit made of that when you get over there.
I had a little bit of that in the last one-day series in England. But it’s all part of a parcel. There’s no harm in a few jokes being made every now and then. When people are giving you stick I guess it goes with the turf of playing cricket for Australia. You take it and you share a laugh.
Can you learn anything off Darren about playing in England?
He’s played a lot of county cricket over there as well so I think it’s really important for me to have that experience to be able to learn off and help me out.
Who is he going to be supporting?
Definitely me. I think I’ve finally converted Dad to our side as well. He was always supporting England until I started playing for Australia. So he’s fully behind Australia now and myself. I think Darren’s the same.
They’re calling this one of the worst Australian squads ever picked for an Ashes series. What do you say to that?
There’s always going to be a lot of talking going on. But now that the squad is announced we’ve got some clarity on where everyone is at. I think it’s a fantastic squad. We’ve got some experienced players and the youth but you can’t really look into that too much. We’ve got to go over there with the aim of winning the series and bringing back the Ashes.
There is something special about the Ashes for an Australian cricketer though isn’t there?
Yeah it’s exciting. Obviously every test match you play is very special but the Ashes is up there with the best. I’m going to go in there pretty confident and just cherish the opportunity. I’ll be trying 100% to win
Will you be the aggressor in the Australian attack?
If it shapes up that way then so be it. But we’ll playing in the true Australian spirit, be aggressive and play to win. If there’s any way we can try to win then we’re going to do that.
In recent times you and Peter Siddle have been the enforcers in the attack. Is that an important role in assering some dominance and gaining some momentum?
I guess so. The aim obviously is to get 20 wickets so any way we can do that then we’ll be doing it. We’ll be trying our best to win the game of cricket.
I think so. There’s definitely a feeling in the group that we can beat them. We’re going over there to win. We’ve got some fantastic cricketers. Our squad is full of fantastic talent. Obviously there was the disappointment of the series loss in India but that’s past us now. We can definitely win.
Their captain Alistair Cook has done so well over the past couple of seasons. But he hasn’t had you in his face yet. Are you looking forward to introducing yourself from 22 yards?
Yeah you cherish the opportunity to bowl at one of the best batsmen in the world. I think a lot of players in our team are going to find another level bowling to guys like Cook and Kevin Pietersen. They’re a couple of players whose wicket you want. It’s pretty special. It’s along the lines of Tendulkar or someone like that.
So the feeling is they’re England’s two key batsmen
Yeah Cook and Pietersen definitely. I think that’s been the trend over the last year or so that when Cook has fired their team has done really well. And when he hasn’t they’ve looked like they struggle a little bit. So he’s a key player to them. He’s the captain as well. So if we can attack the captain it will make it hard for the rest of them I think.
Is that going to be your mission? To take Cook down?
No I don’t think so. I’m going to treat everyone pretty equally. We need 20 wickets to win a test match and he’s one of them. If we can get him out he’s a big wicket there’s no denying that. He’s probably their biggest one along with Pietersen but I think we have to treat them all the same, from number one to 11. We need to bowl the same areas and I think if we do that, bowl really competitive lines and be in their face we’re going to go a long way towards doing that.
Glenn McGrath used to nominate his targets. You going to follow in his footsteps?
I think Pigeon was probably a bit more experienced than me when he was nominating his targets. I think I’ve got a few more years to really consolidate myself in test cricket and perform consistently over the years before I do that. I think Pigeon had the right to make those statements. I’m just all about treating them equally now and obviously trying to win a test match for Australia
You came home early from the tour of India. How’s your fitness now?
The fitness is good. I had a little setback with a personal medical procedure I had to have done but that’s all recovered fine and that’s recovered quicker than I expected. I’ll be back bowling by the end of this week. I’ve got a month still until the Australia A tour and then hopefully that takes me into the Ashes in good form. It’s exciting times and I think I’ve got a fantastic preparation ahead of me leading into it.
Most believe the bowling attack will carry a few battle scars from the tour of India. But you were one of the shining lights in the tests you played. How has it impacted on you?
It was tough conditions over there. There’s no hiding that and we didn’t perform at the ability we can or at the level we wanted to. Sometimes as a group you need these setbacks to re-assess what we’ve got and realise how to go about things. I think bowling there in India will help me in English conditions as well. I think there are things you can take out of a tour like India that will work in England as well. It’s not all doom and gloom. We’re in another series now. We’ve got our squad together and it looks pretty good.