Bizarre! That’s the only thing you can say about Darren Pattinson’s selection for the second Test this morning. His inclusion in the initial 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy lifted my eyebrows heaven-ward a few weeks ago, but this has to be the biggest kick in the teeth for some hardworking fast medium bowlers in the English first-class game.
Pattinson, it appears, is not actually Australian – he was born in Grimsby – but until this year he had played all his first-class cricket Down Under, plucked seemingly from obscurity by Victoria in 2006 when they were hit by a spate of injuries, and then earned a contract for 2007.
Now, after some impressive performances for Nottinghamshire, he finds himself brought in ahead of such luminaries as Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison, both of whom have not been bowling badly for their counties, and honest triers such as Steve Kirby and Graham Onions, who appeared to be in Geoff Miller’s thoughts at the beginning of the season when they were called up for the MCC match against the champion county. Not to mention Chris Tremlett.
Maybe Miller has seen something not many others of us have – I have to admit I have not seen Pattinson play – and he thought it important to lay claim to him in case the Aussies were having thoughts about including him for next year’s Ashes, but the length of his tenure as the chief selector may ride on this hunch.
I know that these days nationality is a changeable commodity, but I’d be interested to hear what accent was prominent when he was being introduced to his team-mates in the England dressing-room this morning: one more regularly heard in Cleethorpes or Melbourne.
Of course, if he picks up six wickets I shall be lauding Mr Miller and congratulating him heartily on unearthing a diamond from the other side of the world.
But, leaving aside national loyalties, something about this just doesn’t taste right.