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Off the leash: Big six months looming for Pattinson

Pattinson has been dogged by injuries, mainly to his back, throughout his career. He underwent surgery in November 2017 in a last ditch effort to fix the problems, not returning to the Victorian Sheffield Shield team until the start of last season.

James Pattinson is set for a big summer at home despite missing out on selection for the fifth Test.

James Pattinson is set for a big summer at home despite missing out on selection for the fifth Test.Credit:AP

He played as an all-rounder before Christmas, increasing his workloads in the back half of the season when his hot form booked him a seat on the plane to England.

Pattinson made his Test debut against New Zealand in 2011 in the same match as David Warner and Mitchell Starc but has played the fewest games of that trio by a considerable margin.

Warner has played 78 Tests, even with 12 months out suspended, Starc 52 while Pattinson has lined up in only 19.

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“James Pattinson again is someone we’ve been really pleased what he’s done in Test cricket over here,” Paine said.

“He’s bowling very, very well, he’s going to be a huge asset for us going forward. We’ve said from the start we want to make sure we look after him so he’s got a lot more years of Test cricket in him. We can’t wait to get him back to Australia and unleash him during the summer.”

Before this series, Australia have never had the star quartet of Pattinson, Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins available at the same time. If they all stay fit, Australia will be at short odds to defeat Pakistan this summer regardless of their problems with the bat.

“Clearly, our bigger, taller faster bowlers work really well in Australia,” Paine said. “That’s where we see a really exciting six months for James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, who haven’t played as much this series.

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“We think our home conditions suit those two really well. We are excited, we’re going to have them fresh and ready to go for the home summer, which is great. We’ve certainly taken a slightly different approach to things over here this time.”

Mitchell Marsh is back for his first game since last summer’s Boxing Day Test, his last appearance for Australia in any format.

The all-rounder put the writing on the wall for his recall with 74 and three wickets in a tour game against Derbyshire. He has been picked to take ease the burden carried by Australia’s quicks, who have had a long campaign in England.

Marsh was told after his Test axing he needed to get fitter and improve his game.

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“He got some pretty honest feedback when he was dropped for the Indian series,” Paine said.

“He had a choice to make, either with to sulk about it or something¬†about it. Mitch at the moment is as fit as we’ve seen him.”

The Australians want Marsh to aspire to the fitness standards set by Ben Stokes, who has been able to bowl 25 to 30 overs yet still have the constitution to make big hundreds.

“That’s something Mitch has watched up close and something he’s aspiring to,” Paine said.

“Certainly when he’s fitter, his bowling goes to another level. If you’re a boy the size he is it’s hard to run in all day when you’re carrying a few extra kilos. He’s worked really hard to work them off.”

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