Test quick James Pattinson is determined to toughen up as the 21-year-old guards against a repeat of the foot injury which interrupted his home summer.
The Victorian insists his foot is okay and he simply needs to build up his bowling fitness after missing Australia’s final two Tests against India last month.
And Pattinson, who has won the man-of-the-match awards twice already in his four-Test career, is aiming for a recall to Australia’s one-day squad next month as a warm-up for the Test series in the West Indies in April.
But he’s wary of playing Sheffield Shield cricket just yet and is happy to make a gradual return to big-time cricket via Victoria’s Futures League game against South Australia in Adelaide starting on Monday.
Pattinson said his swollen foot had recovered simply through rest.
“I’ve got no trouble with the foot,” he told reporters on Friday.
“Now it’s just trying to get my workload back up there to Test cricket standards, and don’t go out there too hard and (injure) a side or something like that.
“I’ve just got to take it easy to start with and just build in to it.
“I am only 21 now so it is pretty young to be playing Test cricket.”
Pattinson admits the heavy workload from early December to early January was a shock to his young body which had only played nine first-class games before his Test debut in Brisbane in December.
“In the period of time when I was playing Test cricket, I’d never really (played that long),” Pattinson said.
“I’d played two Shield games in a row and that’s the most cricket I’ve had.
“I suppose it was just my bones and my body wasn’t hard enough for Test cricket. Hopefully now, I can get back and have a bit of rest and get some workload back into my body.”
Pattinson played club cricket in Melbourne last weekend as a batsman only but has been bowling in the nets with the Victorian squad.
“My plan is to play this Futures game, get a bit of workload into my body and slot back in for the one-day series,” Pattinson said.
“We (Australia) have got a game out here (at the MCG against Sri Lanka on March 2) and then the final so I will be looking towards that,” he added hopefully.
Pattinson said he was planning to bowl in five-over spells in the Futures League four-day game.
“If I was playing Shield cricket, (coach Greg Shipperd) would be at me to give 100 per cent given we can make the final and I am just not ready for that.
“The West Indies tour does start with one-dayers and T20s so I can use that period to build up for the Test matches.”