Injury-prone James Pattinson has been ruled out of the Ashes series with England after aggravating a lower back stress fracture, dealing Australia’s fast bowling stocks a blow.
It is the same problem that kept the 27-year-old out of Australia’s recent tour to Bangladesh, and he will now take an indefinite break to fully recover.
“Obviously I am extremely disappointed with this setback after just getting back into a good run of playing cricket,” Pattinson said in a statement late Wednesday.
“I’m especially disappointed to miss out on the possibility to play in a home Ashes series.
“Over the next few weeks I will discuss all available options available to me with medical staff, to work out the best plan to prevent this from happening again.”
Injuries have limited Pattinson to 17 Tests since his 2011 debut against New Zealand and he has not played since July 1 when he represented Nottinghamshire in the final of England’s one-day tournament against Surrey at Lord’s.
His absence leaves Mitchell Starc to lead the Australian attack alongside Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, with Nathan Coulter-Nile or Jackson Bird likely to be a fourth option.
Australia’s sports science and medicine manager Alex Kountouris said it was clear Pattinson’s back problem was not going away.
“He returned to bowling after a period of rest and unfortunately he is still experiencing pain with bowling,” he told the Cricket Australia website.
“During this time we have been monitoring him, including regular scans, and recent imaging has confirmed that James has begun to re-aggravate his previous lower back stress fracture.
“As such, he has discontinued bowling as part of his recovery which unfortunately means that he will be unavailable for the beginning of the Sheffield Shield and subsequently the Ashes campaign.”
Despite the setback, Kountouris said he was confident Pattinson would ultimately recover return to cricket.
England are due to arrive in Australia in late October with the first of five Tests starting on November 23 in Brisbane.