Australia suffer Ashes blow as James Pattinson announces shock retirement from Test cricket

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Australia suffer Ashes blow as James Pattinson announces shock retirement from Test cricket - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
Australia suffer Ashes blow as James Pattinson announces shock retirement from Test cricket - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS

Australia’s fast bowling resources have been stretched tighter after the sudden decision by James Pattinson to retire from international cricket at the age of only 31.

Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are now left without any obvious replacement after Pattinson’s retirement. Thoughts of resting-and-rotating during the five-Test Ashes series may have to be shelved.

Pattinson took 81 Test wickets at 26 runs each, and was a terrific bowler on the few occasions he was not suffering stress fractures caused by the hostility he generated: bounce, swing, seam movement - he had it all - coupled with more overt aggression than Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood.

Nobody apart from these four bowlers has taken a Test wicket for Australia with pace in the last couple of years. Peter Siddle did so in 2019, and is still playing in the Sheffield Shield but has retired from Test cricket.

Siddle turns 37 next month so it would look a bit rich and retro if he were recalled after the recent Australian jibes about the Dad’s Army nature of England’s pace attack led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

"Leading into pre-season I really wanted to give the Ashes a crack but in the end I haven't had the preparation I would have liked heading into the coming season," Pattinson said.

"If I was to be part of the Ashes I would need to do myself and my team-mates justice. I didn't want to be in a position of battling with my body when you need to be 100 per cent fit and ready to go at any time. That would not be fair to myself or the team."

Pattinson suggested that he might play county cricket again, which would be well received at Trent Bridge. He has taken 40 championship wickets for Nottinghamshire at only 15 runs apiece.

It was also at Trent Bridge, in the Ashes Test of 2013, that Pattinson showed what a dangerous tail-ender he could be. Down at No 11, he joined Brad Haddin and scored an unbeaten 25 before the Aussie wicketkeeper was given out on review and England won by 14 runs.

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