Australia fast bowler James Pattinson will make his return to first-class cricket this Saturday following a long-term back injury when he lines up for the Victorian Bushrangers in its 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.
James 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."
Pattinson's return to action follows a lengthy period re-working his bowling action alongside Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott and Cricket Victoria High Performance Manager Tim McCaskill to avoid a recurrence of the problem that sidelined him following last year's tour of South Africa.
And his comeback at first-class level comes after an impressive series of performances for the Melbourne Renegades in this season's KFC Big Bash League, where he took seven wickets.
"Initially I was not going to play any Big Bash cricket but I got to the stage where I had to play some cricket because it had been so long since I had, and I was ready to go," said Pattinson. "I managed to play five matches, which was fantastic.
"I was a bit nervous coming into the games, whether I could hold my action and actually compete at that level knowing I had been out of the game for so long but I was lucky enough to get a few wickets and stick to my (new) action too.
"I think that gave me a lot of confidence and, looking back, that was a great decision that I did play the Twenty20 matches and get the games under my belt."
Pattinson has played 13 Tests, the most recent of them coming in Cape Town, South Africa in March 2014, the match that saw Australia seal its 2-1 series win against the hosts. He has 51 wickets in the longest form of the game at 27.07, as well as 331 runs at 30.09.
Pattinson has also played 13 One-Day Internationals, the most recent of which came in January 2014 against England in Perth, for a return of 16 wickets, as well as four Twenty20 Internationals (three wickets).
"It is a mouth-watering year ahead," he added. "The Ashes is the pinnacle and... that is my goal, I want to be available for that series and I want to be performing well so I can put my name up for selection.
"Hopefully, over the next couple of months, playing some Shield cricket, I can do that."