The Ashes – James Pattinson happy to be back on familiar territory

FAMILIAR GROUND: Australia's James Pattinson. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA
FAMILIAR GROUND: Australia's James Pattinson. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA
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James Pattinson will be doing everything he can to break English hearts in this summer’s Ashes but the Australia paceman is an avowed Anglophile, be it Big Ben, David Beckham or Blundell Park.

Pattinson was born in Melbourne but his links to England run deep. Father John is from Grimsby, mother Sue hails from South Yorkshire and Pattinson himself briefly lived on these shores as a child.

I moved over here when I was six and lived in Grimsby for a little bit – but that didn’t last long, I think the family liked Australia better ... I don’t why. But I used to come back most years, I’ve still got aunts and uncles here.

James Pattinson

Cricket fans will need no reminding that elder brother Darren also had the honour of playing Test cricket for England.

And so it is that one of the men charged with keeping the urn Down Under takes the field with a pair of striking tattoos on his heavily-inked left arm.

One is of Westminster’s famous clocktower and the other is an old-fashioned bowler hat, with Pattinson admitted he wears them with pride.

“I have English heritage, my family is from England. I love being over here,” he said.

“I moved over here when I was six and lived in Grimsby for a little bit – but that didn’t last long, I think the family liked Australia better ... I don’t why. But I used to come back most years, I’ve still got aunts and uncles here.”

The 29-year-old played the most recent of his 17 Tests back in February 2016 and last tasted Ashes cricket three years earlier.

Much of the intervening period has been spent battling back from career-threatening back problems, which required extensive surgery and titanium pins being inserted to stabilise his vertebrae.

It has been a long road but a worthwhile one as he assesses a potential comeback at Edgbaston.

“It’s exciting times. I haven’t played too many Tests although it looks like it from the state of my baggy green (Australia cap),” he said.

“I am not back in the team yet but I am back in the squad and that is a really good step.”