After Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand due to injury, former skipper Ricky Ponting has backed James Pattinson to replace him.
Hazlewood suffered a low-grade hamstring tear in the night session of the second day’s play of the pink-ball Test at the Perth Stadium where he just bowled eight balls.
Having been ruled out from the second Test, the 28-year-old is now racing against the clock to be fit for the third Test, to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground from January 3.
Australia head coach Justin Langer, meanwhile, said that there are no clear frontrunners between the two reserve fast bowlers in the squad Michael Neser and Pattinson.
However, Ponting has gone in favour of Pattinson to play in the second Test in Melbourne. “James Pattinson is the obvious one to come in,” the two-time World Cup-winning skipper was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia’s (CA) official digital platform cricket.com.au.
“I think the Australians would have been tossing up whether to play Pattinson or Starc in the first Test in Brisbane and then ‘Patto’ ruled himself out with that suspension that he got,” Ponting said.
He further added, “Neser has been around the squad but I think going into Melbourne, Patto’s home ground, he’s played a lot of cricket there, he probably understands the conditions better than Michael Neser does. He’s the obvious one and I think he will play.”
Eight years after making his Test debut, Pattinson has played a total of only 19 matches in a career that has been majorly affected by injuries.
“I’ve liked him from the start of his career,” he said. “I was lucky enough to play in his first Test match and he’s just like a big bull, charging in and wants to bowl fast. He’s aggressive and has the ability to swing the new ball as well,” Ponting added.