Barely hours ago, Australia dealt with a huge blow as star pacer James Pattinson was ruled out of the upcoming home Ashes, following a lower back stress fracture. Pattinson, having a history of lower back issues was perceived to be Australia’s trump card in their four-man pace quartet for the home summer. In his absence now, there is bound to be added burden on the other members of the pace bowling department.
A couple of months ago, head coach Darren Lehmann had outlined Australia’s strategy for the Ashes and wanted to field an imminent four-man pace attack, comprising of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
Cummins, who recently made his Test comeback against India earlier this year, has already been rested from the three-match T20I series against the same opposition. Now with Pattinson once again succumbing to an injury, the likes of Nathan Coulter Nile and Jackson Bird could get a look.
“Three of them we know are on track, but James Pattinson’s had a little bit of a setback,” said Australia’s bowling coach, David Saker. “Josh Hazlewood is on track to play the first Test, Mitchell Starc is going really well and Patty is obviously flying. He’s going to have a bit of a rest and then heat up into Shield cricket.”I think it’s really good for the whole Australian team that they’ve got three Shield games. Whether the fast bowlers play all three of those, we’ll wait and see.”
Kane Richardson, who recently featured in the series against India, was of the view that his teammate Nathan Coulter Nile deserved to be in the squad for the Ashes.
“He’s pushing his case for higher honours in Test cricket this year, I think,” Richardson said. “If there’s any injuries or you’re resting and rotating, he’s probably the next one in.”