James Pattinson, who was in contention to be in the Australia side for the one bowler slot with Mitchell Starc, has been suspended by Cricket Australia for player abuse during the Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Queensland. This means that Pattinson will be ruled out of the Pakistan Test starting on November 21 in Brisbane. It was his third breach in the past 18 months, the incident triggered a one-match suspension. It was not clear what he said, but the governing body characterised it as "personal abuse of a player while fielding".
Pattinson's ban opens the door to Mitchell Starc to play in the Test at Brisbane. The two were seen to be competing for one bowling slot to partner Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon. Pattinson admitted to the offence and apologised. "I made a mistake in the heat of the moment. Straight away I realised I was in the wrong, and I apologised immediately, both to the opponent and to the umpires. I have done the wrong thing and accept the penalty. I'm gutted to miss a Test match, but the standards are there for a reason and the fault is mine." Cricket Australia said no replacement will be called up for the Test squad.
"We have a duty to uphold the highest standards of behaviour and the action taken in this matter demonstrates that," CA's head of integrity and security Sean Carroll said in a statement. In the recently concluded Ashes series in England 2019, Pattinson made a comeback from a career-threatening back stress fracture after three years.
Heading into the Test against Pakistan, Pattinson had put up a solid performance for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield, taking four wicket in the game against Western Australia and taking six wickets inthe game against Queensland. In the two Ashes Test that he played in Birmingham and Leeds, Pattinson took five wickets in two Tests and bowled with decent pace.
Before the start of the Sheffield Shield season, Pattinson had expressed his desire to play back-to-back Tests as he looks to overcome a string of injuries ranging from back, side strain and hamstring for the last eight years. The string of injuries for Pattinson meant that his workload management had to be monitored extensively. "I think the next process for me if I do get a chance in the Test arena is trying to play more back-to-back cricket now. I think [being rested] was more being out of the team and coming back after three years. I've been injury-free now for the better part of a year now. The body is feeling good. Hopefully, that's the next progression if I do get a chance in the Test team," Pattinson told ESPNCricinfo.
There is hope that Pattinson could play the Test in Adelaide against Pakistan following which New Zealand arrive in the country for three Tests which will be the Day Night Test in Perth followed by the Boxing Day and New Year's Test in Melbourne and Sydney.