Australian fast bowler James Pattinson has retired from Test cricket, after a persistent knee injury restricted his preparation for the upcoming Ashes series.
The Australian's Peter Lalor reported Pattinson had considered this summer as his last realistic chance to regain his place in the Test side, and the niggling knee injury proved too difficult to overcome.
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Fans were dismayed by news of Pattinson's Test retirement, with the 31-year-old regarded as one of Australia's best bowling prospects before back injuries derailed his career.
Persistent injuries limited him to just 17 Tests in the first five years of his career - but there was no denying his talent in the limited time he spent in the national side.
In 21 career Tests, Pattinson snared 86 wickets at an average of 26 - figures many believe would be even better had he been granted better fortune and stability within the lineup.
An injury while mowing his lawn kept him out of the 2019/20 Border-Gavaskar series against India, while he missed a Test against New Zealand later that summer for abuse, returning to play a further two.
In a recent interview with Cricket Australia, Pattinson said he believed this summer marked his last chance at Test cricket.
“The hardest part as you get older is that you want to try an enjoy your cricket as well,” he said.
“You put all your attention into playing cricket for Australia and at some stage, that finishes.
“This year is a big one for me if I can crack in and try and get an opportunity at the Test level. If not then I probably wouldn’t mind just looking to try and enjoy my cricket somewhere towards the back-end of my career.
“I’m going into it pretty relaxed and trying to say ‘you’re having one last crack at trying to play Test cricket and get a good run at it’. I’d just like to play consistent cricket, wherever it may be.”
Fans took to social media to remember Pattinson's relatively short, but still sweet, career.
Injuries meant Test cricket never saw the best of him, but hopefully @VicStateCricket can see a little bit more of him. James Pattinson is a rockstar. A breathtaking old-fashioned fast bowler. Quick, aggressive, entertaining, full of contagious energy. And the ultimate team mate. pic.twitter.com/MCferEovLx
— Adam White (@White_Adam) October 20, 2021
James Pattinson retiring from Test cricket is horrible for those that love watching bloodt angry fast bowlers intimidating batsmen
— Dennis (@DennisCricket_) October 20, 2021
Hearing James Pattinson has pulled the pin on Test cricket. First reaction - we never saw the best of him there. Competing for a place with Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood didn't help.
— Ric Finlay (@RicFinlay) October 20, 2021
James Pattinson retiring from Test cricket is not great news. At 31, you’d say he still had a few more rapid spells left in him at the highest level. But @collinsadam, this does mean we’re one step closer to #NeserMustPlay https://t.co/sSWcF0uoXx
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) October 20, 2021
Sad to read about James Pattinson retiring from Test cricket. Had all the skills to be the best, and when he was fit he probably was. Also had a trait that differentiated him from the pack: He just detested batsmen to their very core.
— Patrick Effeney (@PatrickEffeney) October 20, 2021
His retirement means Australia will not have a back-up pace option behind Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood who have played more than two Tests.
Instead the uncapped Michael Neser and Sean Abbott are the two most likely options as well as two-Test player Jhye Richardson.
Bowling no obstacle to Cummins captaincy
Pat Cummins' position as a fast bowler won't be held against him as a potential successor to Tim Paine as Australia's Test captain, says new men's national selector Tony Dodemaide.
Cummins, 28, the current vice-captain, skippered NSW in the Marsh Cup earlier this year and looms as one of the main candidates to follow Paine.
The responsibility of captaincy is often perceived as too much of an additional burden for Test fast bowlers, given their heavy workload.
The most recent example of an Australian paceman to perform the duty was Ray Lindwall, who captained a single Test in 1956.
Dodemaide, a former quick himself, said he wouldn't be blinkered by any preconceptions.
"I don't think any particular role in the team excludes someone from having a leadership position," Dodemaide told reporters on Tuesday.
"You want as many leaders or people that have leadership characteristics in a team, whether they've got the titles or not.
"I don't think that necessarily precludes any particular type of player.
"Tim's a great example of that himself.
"I think probably the view was a few years ago that it was too much to expect a keeper to be a captain as well and he's done a terrific job.
"So no, absolutely no preconceived ideas at all coming into the role."
Dodemaide, who will finish his month's notice at Hockey One before starting his cricket duties in mid-November, joins chair George Bailey and coach Justin Langer on the three-man selection panel, with the Ashes looming as his first major assignment.
He stressed he wanted to "get to know" the players and his colleagues, and get up to speed with the lay of the land before making any definitive calls on the leadership coming through behind Paine.
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