Australia’s most in-form batsman Kurtis Patterson believes he is hitting the ball better than ever and in career-best touch ahead of a potential Test debut at the Gabba on Thursday.
As first revealed by the Herald, Patterson was added to Australia’s squad on Monday off the back of two hundreds against Sri Lanka in a tour match in Hobart last week.
‘I feel like I’m hitting the ball as well as I ever have’: Kurtis Patterson at Test training on Monday.Credit:AAP
Scores of 157 not out and 102 not out all but forced selectors to parachute the 25-year-old into his first Australian Test squad and put him within reach of earning a baggy green.
Including a grade match for St George, Patterson has now plundered 426 runs in less than a fortnight without being dismissed and will go into the Brisbane match, if selected, brimming with confidence.
“I feel at the top of my game to be honest,” Patterson told reporters at Allan Border Field after his first training session. “I feel like I’m hitting the ball as well as I ever have. You want to be picked when you’re playing and I feel like I am at the moment.
"There’s some hard work to be done this week but if I get the opportunity on Thursday I will be looking forward to it.”
Patterson has not been picked from obscurity or rewarded for a handful of scores and nothing else. At 18, on Sheffield Shield debut, Patterson whacked a brilliant hundred that firmly announced his arrival as a player of promise.
Since then, Patterson has worked hard at his craft in the longer – and his preferred – format. His overall first-class average of 41 from 58 matches is healthy and further examination shows he one of the more consistent performers across the competition.
Six hundreds and 26 fifties perhaps suggests there is conversion issues but a fine hundred against Western Australia late last year, 428 runs at 47.55 this season, to go with two unbeaten hundreds in Hobart is enough hard evidence for many in the cricket fraternity that he is ready.
“I was elated. It was a great little reward at the end of that Sri Lanka game,” Patterson said.
“There’s a lot of people that have really helped me in my path to get to this point now so I guess they were probably more elated than I was. I feel like I’m trying to stay on task and not get too sentimental about it right now.”
Rookie: Will Pucovski with Nathan Lyon on Monday.Credit:AAP
With Will Pucovski yet to play for Australia, Patterson and the young Victorian, or even Marnus Labuschagne for that matter, could fight for a spot in the Australian order but it is looking increasingly likely the New South Welshman will get the green light.
The problem for selectors is that both Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns failed during the tour match, meaning Usman Khawaja opening the batting may provide better balance in a top six that will also likely feature Marcus Harris and Travis Head.
Patterson’s auspicious form against the pink ball extends further back than the Hobart fixture. He made 111 against Queensland at the Gabba against a pink ball in October 2016 and will be hoping for the more of the same this week.
“I like batting here … it’s just a great venue to bat," Patterson said. "There’s pace and bounce in it and there’s value for shots.
“I feel I’ve played enough pink ball cricket that I can understand where I’m going with that, as do the rest of the boys. When we go out there it’s about how well we adapt to those different modes of the game.”
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