Mumbai Indians' James Pattinson: You just have to play to your strengths

The Australian fast bowler talks about replacing Lasith Malinga at Mumbai Indians, how his Big Bash League performances could help him in the UAE and his expectations going into IPL 2020.

Although James Pattinson has been part of the Kolkata Knight Riders before, he is yet to make his IPL debut.   -  Reuters

Australian fast bowler James Pattinson has been signed as a replacement for Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga at Mumbai Indians for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on September 19.

Although Pattinson has been part of the Kolkata Knight Riders before, he is yet to make his IPL debut. With Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard likely to be the two starters among the overseas players, it will be a toss-up between Pattinson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult and Nathan Coulter-Nile for the remaining two slots.

In all, Pattinson has played 39 Twenty20 (T20) games, picking 47 wickets at an average of 24.12 and an economy rate of 8.25.

In an interview with Sportstar, before leaving for Abu Dhabi, Pattinson talked about replacing Malinga at Mumbai, how his Australian Big Bash League (BBL) performances could help him in the UAE and his expectations going into the IPL.

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First up, any nerves or extra pressure because you are literally stepping into Lasith Malinga’s shoes with the Mumbai Indians?

Playing in such a big competition like the IPL always makes people a little bit nervous. Lasith is an amazing player and his record speaks for itself, but we are very different bowlers. All I can do is trust my training and skills to play my role for the team.

Malinga had his yorkers. What’s your X-factor, according to you?

My X-factor is my ability to swing the ball very late at a fast speed.

You’ve had stints with KKR plus the experience of playing in the Big Bash. How will all that help as you turn up in the latest IPL?

I am a completely different player to my last stint in the IPL. I think the BBL will help me with this IPL because I have bowled in various different roles in different situations, which will hopefully enable me to play the role that is asked of me.

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There was a Covid-19 outbreak at Chennai Super Kings (CSK). So, is there a little bit of concern, on your part, as you get nearer to the tournament?

I can only trust the processes the administrators have in place. Of course there is a risk leaving Australia, but I have faith in the protocols that we are following to get through the tournament.

What’s the key to a fast bowler in the IPL? Or generally in T20s?

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You just have to play to your strengths. There are some players who have great slower balls and use them well and others that just try to bowl as fast as they can for their four overs. You also need to understand the role you are playing within the team.

It’s been a stop-start career for you due to injuries. Will a high-profile IPL help you find your voice in the shorter formats, especially with two back-to-back T20 World Cups lined up in 2021 and ’22?

I am confident in my body and my ability. There are a few bowlers ahead of me in the T20 International pecking order. So all I can do is prove to the selectors that if called upon, I will play the role required of me.