A 28-year-old roofer from Melbourne is plucked from Grade cricket to make his Pura Cup debut for Victoria, and just eleven First Class games later he finds himself lining up for the country he left behind at the age of five in the 2008 Headingley Test against South Africa.
Grimsby born Darren Pattinson’s story can be seen as the epitome of the romance of sport, and don’t get me wrong, I will be rooting for the guy to do the decent thing and continue the story with a match winning haul, but this selection raises a lot of awkward questions about how international and domestic English is run.
Thousands of pounds of investment have been ploughed into the development of Sajid Mahmood, Tim Bresnan, Graham Onions and most pertinently here Chris Tremlett, through the Academy Programme. Is the selection of Pattinson proof positive that this process has been a monumental waste of everyone’s time?
What does this pick tell us about the views of the selectors regarding the strength of the County Championship?
It tells this correspondent that Ashley Giles, Geoff Miller et al consider that a guy with six Pura Cup appearances obviously must be more worthy than players that have progressed via the domestic system because there is the belief that County cricket isn’t intense or competitive enough, ergo Aussie Shield cricket must be inherently better.
Pattinson is cited as a swing bowler. So if you take the Mallender horses for courses template, then there is a certain M.J. Hoggard who has been known to bowl the odd deviating delivery, especially to hefty, ponderous opening left handers having dismissed Graeme Smith four times in the last series. Then there is Mahmood who took six wickets in his only Leeds Test, Tim Bresnan, Onions or Jon Lewis from Gloucester.
And the leading wicket taker in the Championship? Stephen Harmison. He has taken being dropped on the chin, knuckled down and done the business for his Club.
If the selectors wanted an off the wall pick, how about Notts all rounder Samit Patel?
But, in common with all the others he has cut his teeth in the County Championship, which the selectors seem to view with contempt and disdain.