Melbourne, Feb 3: Australia fast bowler James Pattinson will make his return to first-class cricket Saturday following a long-term back injury when he lines up for the Victorian Bushrangers in their Sheffield Shield clash against the Queensland Bulls at The Gabba in Brisbane.
It will be the 24-year-old's first Shield appearance for the Bushrangers since January 2013 and will form part of a gradual return to action in the longer form of the game after Pattinson played five matches for the Melbourne Renegades in this season's KFC Big Bash League.
Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's executive general manager, team performance, said: "We are delighted James is ready to return to first-class action after six months of hard work in rehabilitation and also remodelling his bowling action.
"We want him to get back to playing and performing and, put himself in contention for Australia's upcoming tours of the Caribbean and Britain.
"It is important to gradually increase workload, and so the plan is for James to play in three Sheffield Shield matches before the end of the season.
"By making that gradual return to red ball cricket it should allow him to work his way back into the longer form of the game without overloading his body and that approach should benefit James, Cricket Victoria and the Australian team in the long term."
Pattinson said: "It is a huge relief. The whole process over the last six months has been about trying to get my body right and getting my action right to be back playing the longer format of the game in red-ball cricket."
"I am less than a week away from doing that and I am pretty excited at the moment.
"Hopefully I can use these three games and get some good performances on the board and feel good, and then I can put my name forward for selection for the West Indies."
"But first of all there is the four-day game starting this weekend and it is exciting to get back out there. I love playing at The Gabba as I made my Test debut there, and it will be good to get back out there with the boys and play some red ball cricket and take it from there," he added.