Ashes 2013: England's Joe Root under pressure - James Pattinson

 

First Test: England v Australia

  • Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
  • Date: 10-14 July
  • Start time: 11:00 BST

Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave and via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, BBC Sport website & BBC Sport app; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on BBC Sport website, app & mobile devices

Australia fast bowler James Pattinson has hinted England batsman Joe Root will be a target for Ashes sledging.

Root, 22, will open for the first time in a Test match when the series gets under way at Trent Bridge on 10 July.

And Pattinson said: "There is an art to sledging these days. You have to pick the ones you sledge to.

Joe Root's England career

Joe Root
  • Root has made six Test appearances, scoring 424 runs at an average of 42.40
  • In 16 one-day internationals, he averages 49.16 from 16 matches
  • He has played 46 first-class matches, scoring 3,151 runs at 45.66

"Obviously there is going to be pressure on Root. He has done well at six but [moving up the order] will be a new challenge for him."

Pattinson, who is poised to share the new ball with Mitchell Starc, added: "I read the other day he is quite nervous about it but looking forward to the challenge as he should be. It's going to be a tough challenge for both teams."

Root, who was punched by Australia batsman David Warner in a Birmingham bar in June, averages 42.40 from 11 Test innings since making his debut against India in December 2012.

He was promoted to open the batting for England's warm-up match against Essex at Nick Compton's expense and responded with scores of 41 and 26.

Sledging, which involves trying to verbally unsettle an opponent, has been a favourite tactic of the great Australian sides of the past and was termed "mental disintegration" by former captain Steve Waugh. 

While Root may be a prime candidate for a few choice words, Pattinson conceded that aiming barbs at more established players like Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen could be counter-productive.

"Cook has been around quite a bit and he will probably not give you much back if you say anything to him," he said. "He will brush it off so let the ball do the talking to him.

"Pietersen is someone who would thrive on sledging. He is quite an aggressive person and he is, I suppose, an ego of their team.

"As a bowling group it is about being consistent against players like that. You know he will hit your good balls for four.

Sledging in the Ashes

England's Jimmy Ormond may have only played in two Tests, but his witty retort to Mark Waugh at The Oval in 2001 has gone down in Ashes folklore.

Waugh politely asked the bowler: "Mate, what are you doing out here? There's no way you're good enough to play for England."

Ormond, referencing the fact that the visitors were captained by Mark Waugh's brother Steve, instantly replied: "Maybe not... but at least I'm the best player in my own family."

"But it is all about not letting him dictate because as a batsman that is what he wants to do. He wants to get on top of you."

Responding to Pattinson's comments, England batsman Jonathan Trott said the hosts would not be ruffled by any sledging from the opposition.

"I think if people start sledging you it's a compliment," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "Obviously people are worried about you. I'm sure Joe will see it like that.

"It's not really the way people in England go about their business regards to making statements like that. We leave that to the opposition."

Pattinson has 40 wickets in 10 Test matches and the 23-year-old impressed with match figures of 7-117 in Australia's first warm-up match against Somerset last week.

Born in Australia to English parents, he is the younger brother of Darren, who played a single Test for England at Headingley in 2008.

James has dual passports and even turned down an approach from England bowling coach David Saker before opting to play for Australia.

"When David Saker moved over to be the coach of England I hadn't played for Australia," said Pattinson.

"I was picked in two Twenty20s to play just after the Ashes but I was 12th man in both of them and he got Andy Flower to say 'come on, it's not too late, you can come over here.'

"But I owe a lot to Australian cricket, I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for them."