Why CA had to whack Pattinson for taunt
Australia was deeply shaken by its Test series loss to India on home soil last year but there was one statistic that made local officials puff their collective chests out.
For the first time in eight years there was no code of behaviour offence involving the national side and the satisfying spin-off was that bad behaviour charges dropped all the way down to junior level.
These were two of the first facts mentioned at the Cricket Australia AGM in Brisbane earlier this month.
It was confirmation of the widely held but often ignored view that Australian juniors and state teams copy the behaviour of the senior team.
And it's why the suspension of James Pattinson for a homophobic sledge of Queensland Bull Cameron Gannon was a particularly unfortunate headline for the Australian squad as it landed in Brisbane for the first Test of the summer.
Cricket's standards have changed regarding such taunts.
They simply had to because you cannot on one hand preach inclusiveness and support of gay marriage and on the other hand dismiss such sledges as nothing more than a grisly fast bowler letting off steam by baiting an old mate.
A few decades ago umpires might simply ignore what he heard or tell a bowler to calm down but cricket has become beholden to the standards it preaches in the wake of the ball tampering affair.
Pattinson was understood to be shaken by the fallout and the next question is whether he will change the way he plays.
It appears the days of the old fashioned fire-breathing fast bowlers, who could say pretty much what they liked in the comfort of knowing it would be dismissed as crazy men saying crazy things, are gone.
Pattinson's fast bowling teammate Mitchell Starc, speaking before news broke that Pattinson's offence was a homophobic slur, said Pattinson needed to watch how far he went without losing the essence of his fiery demeanour.
"I did not see the incident but Patto is very much that huff and puff type and that is what we love about him,'' Starc said.
"He is in your face. He is someone you love to have on your team and not play against. Apart from his bowling skills he is that old school Australian fast bowler.
"I don't feel like he will change in that regard. He need to be mindful of how far (he goes) and how snarly he gets.
"I don't say or do much these days. It is the day and age where there are cameras everywhere. Players are role models. You have to be aware of not crossing that line but there will be times when players do.''
But the matured Australian quick is seeing things clearly now as he prepares to take his chance against Pakistan in Brisbane's first Test from Thursday.
Pattinson's suspension on Sunday prematurely ended their likely bowl-off to join Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, meaning Starc will get his chance in an all-NSW attack at the Gabba.
Once considered the automatic go-to combination, the pecking order was turned on its head during the Ashes series in England as Australian bowlers were selected on a horses for courses basis.
That left Starc on the outer for all but one of the five Tests and his stocks didn't improve when he managed just one wicket in NSW's Sheffield Shield opener at the Gabba.
Rather than kick stones, the 29-year-old made some tweaks and will return to Brisbane with 17 Shield wickets at an average of 17 to go with his great T20 form for Australia.
"Everything was happening slowly, I didn't feel the good stuff and positive stuff but I've got rid of the cloudiness of that Gabba game," he said.
"I've had a few good weeks since … it changes quickly, cricket's so fickle."
- with AAP
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