James Pattinson’s immediate playing future is under a cloud after the Australian fast bowler suffered a recurrence of the back problems that have so far plagued his career.
Test bowling coach Craig McDermott says there’s no return date set for the 24-year-old and indicated Pattinson’s days of bowling in Twenty20 cricket may be over.
Pattinson missed the majority of the domestic summer as he recovered from stress fractures suffered on last year’s Ashes tour of England, however the right-armer starred in Australia’s third Test triumph over South Africa in Cape Town in early March.
The Victorian hasn’t bowled since that match, with reports suggesting he has suffered further stress to his lower back and won’t be returning to international cricket any time soon.
“It’ll depend how he heals, first and foremost. That’s got to improve from a clinical point of view before we get to the path we’ll go down with his technical side of it,” McDermott said.
“The timeline on that hasn’t even been determined yet, so we’ll just see how he progresses over the next few months.
“I want to make sure we take our time and get it right. He’s obviously having some sort of trouble with his skeletal make up that’s not coping at his age.
“He’s almost at the age where you’d think he’s not going to get too many more problems, but everyone’s different.
“Patto does bowl fast, he’s not a 130km/h bowler, so we’ve got to make sure we get him right and take our time to bring him back nice and slowly.”
McDermott said Twenty20 cricket is not an ideal format for injury-prone fast bowlers, because of the constant change-ups required in length and pace.
It’s more likely Pattinson will be slowly brought back via club cricket, where he can settle into rhythm.
Meanwhile, pace leader Ryan Harris is unlikely to make the trip to the UAE in October for the Test series against Pakistan.
Harris is recovering well from knee surgery, but won’t be rushed back with a domestic summer against India, an ODI World Cup and a 2015 Ashes series on the agenda.
“He’s definitely touch and go for Dubai, we’ve just got to see how his knee goes over the next few months,” said McDermott.
“We’ve just got to monitor him to see how his knee’s coping with his rehabilitation, and see if it’s possible to get him up for there.
“I don’t think there’s any point rushing ‘Ryno’ either, we’ve got a lot of cricket with India, World Cup, West Indies and the Ashes, we’ve got to make sure he’s 100 per cent when he comes back.”