Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pattinson: Future McGrath

James Pattinson has definitely been the find for Australia this Summer. Tall, Lean, with a high arm action he definitely has all the ingredients to be a great fast bowler. As I watched the Melbourne Test unfold, I realized that he shares an uncanny resemblance with a certain Glenn McGrath. What attracted me initially was the feisty nature of Pattinson. He shared more than just a cricketing duel with Sehwag and was constantly trying to get under his skin. Sehwag is usually not someone who reacts but he did show his displeasure. This incident reminded me of how McGrath used to mock opposition batsman by swinging his hands and showing how the shot ought to be played. McGrath used to always target the big guns like Lara and Sachin, something which Pattison shares. There were a few moments where he even stared at Tendulkar. A mortal staring at Zeus, not a wise thing to do.

Pattinson has started his career 2 years before Glenn did. He has a head start with respect to age. The best thing about that is he has time to learn and grow and given the bowling crisis that Australia is facing, he would receive more opportunities to shine given his talent.

McGrath was well known for his clean and calm run up to the crease, a silent leopard. He didn’t have a pronounced jump but bowled very close to the stumps, sometimes knocking the bails on the way. On the contrary you would see a more hustling run up from Pattinson, a big jump at the crease followed by a high release which allows him to generate exaggerated bounce. This bounce, on two separate occasions troubled Tendulkar who tried to leave the balls. Bounce was something which McGrath too generated with ease; his was with a more pronounced seam.

The common factor between them is the ability to bowl the balls in the right areas consistently. Although he is still young, Pattinson has already realized the benefits of putting the ball in the right areas rather than trying to bowl too quick. He can only get better.

What Pattinson now needs is a hunting partner. Starc or Cummins are the two possibilities. Whoever it turns out, Australia's fast bowling traditions are in safe hands.

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