Australia do not want their young bowlers sustaining any more injuries
Australia’s young pace bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson will be constantly rotated during Test series in order to manage their workload and ensure that they don’t sustain injuries.
National coach Mickey Arthur stated that the selectors would be making their decisions with a more sports science approach from now on since they did not listen to advice from sports scientists last summer, who told them that Pattinson was likely to get injured during the home series against India.
Pattinson made a huge impact on his debut last year, and after having constant solid performances during every match he played, his team-mates encouraged the selectors to include him in the Sydney Test against India, which was the young bowler’s fourth Test match in five weeks.
Towards the end of the Sydney Test match, Pattinson complained of having some discomfort in his left foot, and after having scans done, it was revealed that there were early signs of stress fractures, which effectively sidelined him for two months.
“The sports scientists tell me that our guys under the age of 25 can bowl 52 to 55 days in a year, whereas guys like Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson, over the age of the 25, they can probably give you 75 [days] at high intensity. We were told by the sports scientists that James Pattinson would break down in the Sydney Test match. We then got all that information and [captain] Michael Clarke and myself and the selector on duty, we thought that the impact he’d made in Melbourne, it was worth taking that risk. Even though he broke down, he got four wickets in the first innings, he got Gautam Gambhir in the first over of that Test match, arguably he put us on the road to win that Test. That was a risk that we thought was worthwhile,” Arthur said.
With Ryan Harris already ruling himself out of the upcoming South Africa Test series in November after failing to sufficiently recover from shoulder surgery, it will be crucial for the Australian management to ensure that Cummins, Pattinson and Starc remain fit and healthy throughout the course of the series.
Cummins, like Pattinson, has also suffered with injuries in the past year, and has not played a single Test match since his debut in Johannesburg last November.
Talking about Cummins, Arthur noted that the 19-year-old would probably only play one Test out the three in the series.
“That is what the sports scientists are telling me and I’ve got to go along with that, we’d like to play him in everything, but it’s not possible. Much like we did with Mitchell Starc last year, he travelled with us to most venues, ended up getting three Test matches I think in the year, five or six ODIs but he was with us all the time and we are really seeing the benefits of that now,” Arthur said.
While Cummins and Starc were at the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, Pattinson stayed behind and played some domestic cricket with Victoria in order to get prepared for the upcoming Test series.
Pattinson noted that he completely understood why the team management wanted to restrict the workload of the younger bowlers.
“I can definitely see where they’re coming from, as a fast bowler you don’t really want to miss games … but the way things are going now there’s so much cricket all over the world, Twenty20 and Test cricket is getting more and more every time. I think we are a pretty young bowling side coming through and you don’t want to get burned out too early. As much as we want to play we do listen to them and they really have our best interests [at heart],” Pattinson said.
“For me personally it’s hard to play all three formats. I found that over the first year of being involved, especially with my body and even the mental side of it does get a bit draining. With Starcy playing the shorter format of the game recently and going over to England and getting some experience over there is great, Patty Cummins is playing the shorter format now and getting some experience that way. I think the way they’re doing it now is very good and it’s going to hold us in good stead come three or four years like Mickey was talking about, once we reach that age of 25 and become a bit more mature,” Pattinson added.