Pattinson to Continue Smith Battle
November 20, 2012 in cricket
Original article : http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/cricket/james-pattinson-has-no-regrets-over-graeme-smith-sledge/story-e6frfg8o-1226518401709
Criticised for sledging South Africa captain Graeme Smith during the drawn first Test in Brisbane, Australia’s fastest bowler is preparing for another full-blooded stoush with Smith and Co in Adelaide next week.
“A lot of people have spoken to me saying, ‘You shouldn’t sledge Smith, he’s done so much for the game, he’s the longest-serving captain’,” Pattinson told News Limited.
“You think about that stuff and you really respect that about them, but once you get out there you want to be a competitor, you want to beat them.
“If that’s firing up and saying a couple of words to those people I don’t think it really matters who it is.
“If you can do that to get an edge over them it’s just in the game. They’re happy to say stuff to me too.
“I really respect what they’ve done in cricket. They’re fantastic role models and they’ve done so much for their country, but once you get out there you’re competing against them and you want to try and beat them.”
Like his captain Michael Clarke earlier in the week, Pattinson believes he has done nothing wrong.
He was breathing fire and brimstone in pursuit of victory for his country and would do it again in a heartbeat.
“You don’t go across the line but you do everything you can to win,” Pattinson said.
“I take in the mentality that I try to be better than them even though they’ve got a better record than me and they’ve achieved a lot more.
“I try and be as competitive as I can be against those players.”
James Pattinson celebrates the wicket of Graeme Smith. Picture: Adam Head Source: The Courier-Mail
Affable off the field and unforgiving on it, it is hard to believe that Pattinson is just 22 and is barely one year into an injury-marred career.
Australia’s best and most successful bowler in Brisbane, with five wickets for the match and the memory of skittling Hashim Amla on a no-ball, Pattinson already looks the leader of the attack.
He has 31 wickets from just six Tests at an average under 21.
Despite his early success, Pattinson knows he is up against four of the top 10 batsmen in the world (Smith,Kallis,Amla,de Villiers), some of them all time greats (Smith and Kallis).
“It is a daunting experience,” he said.
“You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t think about it, if you weren’t nervous bowling to those batsmen.
“But I think once you do your planning and you back yourself, the one thing we’ve got in our team at the moment is that we all back ourselves and believe we can do it.”
The Australians are particularly annoyed with Smith and some of the other South African batsmen for constantly pulling away as the bowler is running in.
So when Smith stood back at the last second because a bird flew across the pitch during the last day in Brisbane, with Australia pressing for an unlikely victory, Pattinson lost it.
He delivered the ball anyway and then gave Smith a spray, prompting the veteran opener to wave him away and umpire Asad Rauf to gesture that everyone should cool it.
Graeme Smith departs after being dismissed by James Pattinson in Brisbane. Picture: Adam Head Source: The Courier-Mail
“It was a bit annoying towards the end there running in,” Pattinson said.
“No fast bowler likes running in 30 metres as hard as they can and then be told to do it again for no reward.
“It is annoying, but there is a lot happening at the ground.
“Graeme Smith said there was a bird flying past and there are distractions in the crowd.
“I don’t know whether he is looking closely and not concentrating on the ball enough.
“I’m not too sure whether it was a plan or there really were that many distractions.
“There wasn’t as much of it for us, and that first morning went really slow on day one because of the distractions.
“Whether that was purposely trying to hold us back a little bit I don’t know.
“The first ball when I was warming up Graeme Smith sat in the middle of the wicket and watched me warm up the whole time.
“I took notice of that and I was wondering whether that was a ploy to put me off and slow me down a little bit.”
Australia did well to finish on the better side of a draw in Brisbane after South Africa lost just two wickets on the first day and the second day was washed out.
The real bonus was Pattinson claiming the wicket of Smith cheaply twice.
“If you look at our captain, who has just come off 200 runs, your team builds a strong partnership around your captain,” Pattinson said.
“If our captain is doing well, leading really well, performing, it gives everyone else in the team confidence.
“If you can target the captain, make plans that get him out cheaply, it puts pressure on a lot of the players in the team to do well if the captain’s down.
“It might affect the way he captains the team if he’s worried about his personal performance as well.
“The one thing about the way Pup (Clarke) is going at the moment, he doesn’t have to worry about his personal performance because he’s doing so well.”
Heading into the second Test, beginning on Thursday, Pattinson hopes to bring the same aggression from the fifth day in Brisbane, when South Africa lost five wickets hanging on grimly for a draw.
“We’ve got to do nothing different as a bowling group from what we did on that last day. It was terrific,” he said.
“If we can do that and keep the pressure on and bowl with that intensity that’s going to be the key for us.
“One thing we did use was the short ball quite well on a wicket that was not offering a great deal.
“To go out there and send a message like we did on that last day is going to hold us in pretty good shape going into Adelaide.”