Australia fast bowler James Pattinson is back in England at the start of an Ashes summer and, without making brash predictions, is clearly optimistic he can play a part, even though it is now more than three years since his last Test appearance.
Pattinson played an impressive role in helping Victoria regain the Sheffield Shield at the end of the Australian season and believes his planned three-month stint with Nottinghamshire gives him the perfect opportunity to prove his form and fitness following major back surgery in November 2017.
Pattinson, who turns 28 next month, was out of competitive cricket for 15 months before and after the operation, which was aimed at stopping the recurring stress fractures that threatened to end an injury-plagued career.
He returned to Shield cricket last November and after a carefully managed comeback came into his own as the tournament reached its climax, culminating with seven wickets in the final as Victoria beat New South Wales. He was subsequently backed by his coach, Andrew McDonald, as an Ashes match-winner.
“There is a long way to go before then and obviously there is a World Cup too,” Pattinson said after checking in at Trent Bridge on Saturday and facing immediate questions about his Ashes prospects.
“It is about playing cricket and building up my strength and stamina. I didn’t bowl a heap of overs in the Shield games – I think the most was 26 overs in a game. So the next step is to see how I cope with more overs and see how my body responds.
“But at the moment my back feels as good as it ever has. It is too early to be looking too far ahead but I feel it’s promising times.”
A big bonus, Pattinson said, was how he felt after stepping off the plane. “I’ve just had a long flight and in the past after sitting around for so long it would be hard to get moving again,” he said. “I would need two or three days just to loosen up. But this time I’ve pulled up really well.
“I haven’t had to do much different in the way I bowl. I have been managed carefully in terms of how many overs I have been able to bowl in Shield cricket and it has helped not having to bowl so many overs.
“But I haven’t probably tested my back out fully yet to see what I can do and how many overs I can cope with.”
He believes that the plans Nottinghamshire have for him could provide the ideal build-up to reaching that point.
The county have up to 10 matches in the Royal London Cup before they return to Championship action on May 14. Pattinson was part of the Nottinghamshire team that won the 50-over competition by beating Surrey in the final at Lord’s in July 2017, which turned out to be his last cricket before surgery.
“We’ve got a pretty heavy one-day schedule with eight games and potentially some finals in a short space of time but with not having to bowl more than 10 overs in any game you can plan and prepare quite well,” he said.
“With four-day cricket you don’t know if you’re going to be playing 30 overs or 50 overs and it is hard to plan for sometimes. But a run of one-day games will hopefully put me in good stead for the longer spells.”
Nottinghamshire rather hope that will prove to be the case. In just five Championship appearances in 2017, he took 32 wickets at 12.06.
Pattinson paid tribute to the coaching staff at Victoria for the faith they have shown in him as he made his comeback.
“Andrew McDonald, the coach, and the physio over there, Nick Adcock, have been awesome,” he said. “They have been a tremendous help to me in getting back to where I want to be and the Shield final was all the more special for being able to share it with the physios and coaches who have put a lot of faith in me.”
Pattinson admitted there were moments before and after surgery when he wondered whether he would play again.
“There are always those doubts, but there are a few guys who have had the same thing before me and they have come out the other side okay and that helped me stay optimistic,” he said. “But coming here in the taxi from the airport it came into my mind that at one time I sometimes thought I might never get back here.
“I had a fantastic few months here the last time and had some success with a fantastic bunch of guys, so it is a great feeling to be here again.”
Recent Match Report – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Indian Premier League, 38th Match
Toss Sunrisers chose to bowl v Knight Riders
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson decided to field first against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second day game of the season at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal. The home side are unchanged, while the Knight Riders have made three changes.
It is a crucial game for the Knight Riders who have lost their last four games. Sunrisers, on the other hand, are coming off a win against the Super Kings that helped them break a three-match losing streak.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (capt), Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, KC Cariappa, Harry Gurney, Prithvi Raj
Shadab Khan ruled out of England series with virus
Legspinner Shadab Khan has been ruled out of the limited-overs series that Paksitan will play in England in the lead-up to the World Cup. Shadab is ill with a virus, though the exact nature of his illness is not known. A PCB release said “tests revealed a virus that will require treatment and rest for, at least, four weeks”.
Shadab is also part of Pakistan’s World Cup squad. Should he not be fit for the showpiece event, the PCB can make changes to the squad without seeking ICC permission till May 23.
The PCB said further investigations into Shadab’s illness will be done in England. “The Pakistan Cricket Board will now set up Shadab’s appointment with specialists in England to help him fully recover before Pakistan’s World Cup 2019 opener against the Windies on 31 May at Trent Bridge,” the PCB release said.
Shadab is the only specialist spinner in Pakistan’s 15 for the World Cup. The PCB is also waiting on the fitness of Mohammad Hafeez, who was included while still recovering from the finger injury he picked up during the Pakistan Super League. Hafeez is Pakistan’s other major spin option, alongside fellow allrounder Imad Wasim.
The series against England includes one T20I and five ODIs, between May 5 and 19. In addition to the World Cup 15, two more players will travel to England for this series: pacer Mohammad Amir and big-hitter Asif Ali. The PCB said it will name a replacement for Shadab for this series in “due course”.
Squad for the World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail
Additions for England series: Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali
Oman ride on Mohammad Nadeem’s sizzling form to overcome USA
Oman 152 for 4 (Nadeem 55*, Suraj 50*, Ali Khan 4-27) beat USA 148 (Silva 33, Fayyaz 3-23) by six wickets
Allrounder Mohammad Nadeem‘s sizzling 2019 form helped Oman to a six-wicket win over USA at United CC. Coming into the tournament on the back of half-centuries in wins over Scotland and UAE, Nadeem made another unbeaten half-century in a 97-run unbroken stand with Suraj Kumar to repel USA after Ali Khan‘s four-wicket burst.
On a very sluggish outfield and up-and-down pitch in the first innings, USA were bowled out for 148 in just 38.5 overs as a sensational fast bowling effort from Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah and Fayyaz Butt set up what should have been a straightforward chase of a below-par target. The surface had begun to flatten out in the afternoon sun, but Ali took three wickets with the new ball to leave Oman reeling at 17 for 3.
Ali then returned in the 22nd over and struck with his very first ball of a new spell to get captain Zeeshan Maqsood fiddling an edge behind to make it 55 for 4. Curiously though, Ali only bowled two more overs, meaning he bowled two short of his available quota in one of several eyebrow-raising strategic moves on the day for USA, who also left out Nosthush Kenjige from the XI just a few matches after he had claimed 5 for 27 against Lancashire.
With Ali hidden from the attack, Nadeem and Kumar rebuilt the chase and soon became impossible to dislodge. Nadeem ended on 55 not out off 120 balls while Kumar brought up his half-century on the last ball of the match, sweeping Timil Patel for four through midwicket when scores were level.
Hong Kong 223 for 3 (Rath 114*, Atkinson 35, Dutta 2-30) beat Canada 222 for 8 (Jacobs 52*, Kinchit 4-34) by seven wickets
Hong Kong captain Anshy Rath helped construct a trio of half-century stands, including 90 for the first wicket with former captain Jamie Atkinson to chase down Canada’s 222 with 16 balls to spare at Affies Park.
It was Rath’s second ton for Hong Kong in the last eight months after compiling 102 in a win over UAE at the Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia. In addition to the stand with Atkinson, Rath added 50 with Kinchit Shah and another 63 with Ahsan Abbasi for the third wicket.
It was a superb all-round day for Kinchit, who bowled spin with the new ball and claimed the prized scalp of Ruvindu Gunasekera with his fourth ball of the day before coming back to take a hat-trick in the final over. With captain Davy Jacobs red-hot on 52 off 53 balls, he went ice cold at the non-striker’s end watching helplessly as Kinchit nabbed Saad bin Zafar, Dilon Heyliger and Nikhil Dutta with the last three balls of the innings to ensure Canada were defending a below part total.
Namibia 120 for 7 (Frylinck 23*, Amini 3-46) beat PNG 118 (Soper 36, Frylinck 3-16, Williams 3-25, Smit 3-34) by three wickets
Jan Frylinck played a vital role in a low-scoring thriller to help the tournament hosts off to a winning start against Papua New Guinea. Frylinck snared the prized pair of Tony Ura and captain Assad Vala inside the Powerplay and from there, PNG’s innings never gained any momentum. Chad Soper stretched the innings out with 36 from No. 6 before he was last person out in the 43rd for Frylinck’s third victim.
The early part of Namibia’s chase wasn’t much better than what PNG had produced. After legspinner Charles Amini ripped though the middle-order, Christi Viljoe was runout for 8 to leave Namibia 67 for 6 chasing a target of 119.
But Frylinck followed up his wickets with an instrumental 23 not out off of 20 balls to get Namibia over the line with a whopping 19.3 overs to spare. It means they hold a sizeable early advantage with the tournament tiebreaker of net run rate.
Recent Match Report – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Indian Premier League, 38th Match
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