Saker: Pattinson needs to prove Test fitness


Australia fast bowler James Pattinson needs to be able to play three Sheffield Shield matches in a row without showing any signs of injury if he's to stand any chance of a Test comeback this year.

This is according to his coach at Victoria, David Saker, who feels the next few matches for the Bushrangers will be crucial if Patto's slim Test hopes stay alive ahead of the West Indies series.

The paceman has suffered a string of injuries in recent months, and has been rested on and off for Victoria as they look to keep him fit and avoid another back or side injury.

Saker, a former England bowling coach, said on the Cricket Australia website: "He needs now some continuity playing cricket.

"Everybody concerned needs to see him play two or three Shield games in a row and then can be confident that he can go into a Test match.

"Sometimes we mollycoddle them a little bit and then release them in a Test match, in front of everybody, and expect them to get through two Tests on the bounce.

"That can be tough, if you can't get through Shield games, you're not going to get through too many Tests."

Saker says Pattinson is aiming to make a play for the Windies series in Australia at the end of the year, and wants to be fit for the Boxing Day match at his home ground, the MCG.

Saker added: "If he (shows) good enough form, I think the Australian selectors will look at him for Christmas or after Christmas for the West Indies Tests."

Pattinson himself said of the situation to SEN radio: "They are trying to nurse me back into it which is a bit frustrating at times, but again I'm pretty happy to be fit at this time of year and playing a bit of cricket.

"Hopefully I can just get some continuous cricket."