He is touted as Australia's next big pace sensation who will make life difficult for Indian batsmen in the upcoming Test series, but not too long ago, James Pattinson was nothing more than a fringe player even for his IPL team — Kolkata Knight Riders.
Team India is justifiably bewildered at the noise which surrounds Pattinson ahead of the opening Test starting here on Monday.
Just two Tests old, the 21-year-old speedster is hailed as the enforcer who would bring India's superstars to their knees in the four-Test series.
It's the same Pattinson who was in the Kolkata Knight Riders' squad during the Indian Premier League last year and was hardly given a look-in.
He now has the opportunity to take it out on his Indian captain Gautam Gambhir for being so dismissive of him earlier this year.
Bought at his base price of $100,000, Pattinson had turned out in only four first-class games for Australia at that stage. But for obvious reasons, KKR didn't see any merit in pushing him ahead of star pacer Brett Lee.
In a matter of six months, Pattinson is one of the most talked-about bowlers from Australia.
He bowls in the 140s and moves the ball disconcertingly for any batsman's comfort.
Former Australian cricketer Dean Jones is also from Victoria and has seen enough of Pattinson to think he is a genuine star performer.
“It's like when your car hits a chicken, it gets a little jolt. But when the car hits a cow, you are startled by the impact. It's the same with Pattinson, when he hits the bat, it jars. He's the real thing,” he said.
Interestingly, not many in the Indian team know that Pattinson was in the KKR squad. But now that the Indians know the tall Victorian is gunning for them, they are losing no opportunity to prepare for what he might dish out in the middle.
Sachin Tendulkar has spent hours and hours on the bowling machine for simulated batting against outswingers bowled at quick pace.
V.V.S. Laxman even wanted Tendulkar to see if he was coping up well against outswingers. Importantly, if his bat was coming down correctly in defence.
M.S. Dhoni too opened himself to a bowling machine in the nets on Sunday. He too wanted to practise against that probing line of on or outside the off-stump.
It's a preparedness which is well thought of. Pattinson has gone public on how he sought the advice of England bowling coach David Saker ahead of the present series and how he's going to emulate the line of attack which James Anderson adopted so successfully against the Indians this summer.
Pattinson has harped on the ageing Indian line-up and believes it could be found out on Australian soil this summer.
“You watched them (Indian batsmen) in England and you felt that (signs of decline) at times.”
Pattinson said he would discard the option of bowling a barrage of short-pitched bowling. Instead, he suspects swing is the way to go against the Indians. Pattinson professes he is not intimidated by the Indians.
Rather, he wants to be intimidating to the visitors.
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