Australia’s injury problems are mounting after paceman James Pattinson became the latest player to be told he requires surgery ahead of this summer’s Ashes series.
Pattinson will have an operation on his lower abdomen today to relieve a long-standing problem that he first noticed during Australia’s 4-0 whitewash defeat in India. The 22-year-old has emerged as Australia’s most promising seamer since making his Test debut against New Zealand in December 2011 and averages 23.37 from his 10 appearances so far. Pattinson was awarded a central contract this week but has frequently been afflicted by injuries, most recently missing the crucial third Test against South Africa in December after injuring a rib in the previous match.
However, Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer ,Professor Justin Paoloni, expects the younger brother of Darren Pattinson – who played a solitary Test for England in 2008 – to be back in training in four weeks’ time.
“James has undergone tests and consulted specialists since returning from India, and it was felt that surgery is absolutely necessary at this time,” he said.
“The recovery times will be determined once the surgery is completed but James is expected to return to training in approximately four weeks. His preparation for the Ashes is not expected to be affected but his availability for the ICC Champions Trophy will be determined at a later stage.”
With captain Michael Clarke recovering from back and hamstring injuries and fast bowler Mitchell Starc also facing surgery to remove the bone spurs on his right ankle, it has not been the most encouraging few weeks for Australia. Teenage bowler Pat Cummins – who took 6 for 79 on his debut against South Africa last year – has already been ruled out of this summer’s Ashes in England with a back strain while there are concerns over veteran Ryan Harris, who has decided to play for Kings Punjab XI in the Indian Premier League despite worries over his workload.
“I have to go to the IPL. I would rather go and bowl and train over there than just sit down,” Harris said.
“If I stop bowling or doing rehab for a week, I struggle to get up and going again. It would take me a month or more to get going strong again. I have to keep going now. I’m pretty lucky the IPL is coming up and I will still be bowling there and still moving. I am not going to have a big break and have to start up again.”
Ailing Australia: Ashes worries
Michael Clarke (hamstring/lower back) Out for 10 weeks
James Pattinson (lower abdominal) Out for four to five weeks
Patrick Cummins (back-stress fracture) Unknown return date
Ben Hilfenhaus (knee/back) Only recently returned
Ryan Harris (knee/shoulder) Due to play in IPL
Alister McDermott (back) Only recently returned
Mitchell Starc (ankle) Return after surgery unknown