Australia bowler James Pattinson has revealed he was approached by England to follow in his brother Darren’s footsteps and decamp to the other side of the Ashes rivalry – though he remains unsure how serious the offer was.
Darren, who was born in Grimsby to English parents but grew up in Australia, famously made a solitary appearance for England against South Africa at Headingley in 2008, a pick described by Graham Gooch as “one of the most left-field decisions I’ve ever seen”.
Younger brother James did not come along until the family had emigrated to Melbourne but could also have turned out for England, though he never seriously considered it.
“I have got a dual passport,” he revealed yesterday.
“When David Saker moved to be the coach over here, I hadn’t played for Australia. (In 2011) I was picked for two Twenty20s just after the Ashes, but I was 12th man in both of them and Sakes got Andy Flower to come and see me.
“I was in the dressing room at the MCG. I don’t know if Sakes was being serious. It was ‘come over and play, Darren’s playing over here’. I just thought he was mucking around so I laughed it off. It was quite funny.”
James also revealed that the treatment of his older brother, who was made a scapegoat in some quarters after England bowled poorly in his one Test appearance, had a big effect on the family.
“At that stage dad still supported English cricket a lot,” said Pattinson Jr. “He is quite a hard-nosed guy, quite stubborn, so he has always supported where he came from.
“But he didn’t like the way that Darren was treated over here and I suppose dad thought it was a bit harsh on him.
“It wasn’t Darren’s fault that he played and was made the scapegoat.
“It would have been a different story if England had won, of course. After that it was ‘go and play for Australia’.”