Saturday, July 19, 2008

Aussies in shock over Pattinson's England call-up

The Australian cricket community was caught by surprise on Saturday at Australia-raised paceman Darren Pattinson's bolt from obscurity to the England Test team.

The 29-year-old Nottinghamshire bowler was a surprise choice to replace his injured county colleague Ryan Sidebottom in the England side for the second Test against South Africa at Headingley on Friday.

Although born in Grimsby, northern England, Pattinson grew up in Melbourne and his Australia-born younger brother, James, has represented the Australia Under-19 team.

Cricket officials from his home state Victoria admitted surprise that Pattinson, who is contracted with Cricket Victoria, was not an Australian citizen and even eligible to play for England.

"We didn't realise he wasn't an Australian citizen and didn't have an Australian passport,"
Victorian general manager of cricket operations Shaun Graf said.

"He actually only had a British passport and hence when he came home from playing overseas a couple of times he needed to get a visa which is a little bit strange."

Pattinson's opportunity only evolved when Cricket Victoria received an offer to play with Nottinghamshire, Graf said.

If Pattinson kept his English origins quiet while he was playing in Australia, it wasn't for fear of being sledged.

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