Victoria's James Pattinson has come under fire from cricket fans and commentators after an "unsavoury" incident in his side's Sheffield Shield victory against NSW at the MCG.
The Bushrangers made it two wins from two after their second straight victory over the Blues, with paceman Scott Boland powering the Vics to a 174-run win after taking eight wickets for the match.
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While Boland's latest heroics helped press his case for Ashes selection, it was a more frustrating match for his fellow quick Pattinson, who recently announced his retirement from international cricket.
Pattinson was locked in a battle with NSW batsman Daniel Hughes when things turned ugly at the MCG on Monday.
Hughes was travelling along nicely on 64 not out when he played a defensive shot back to the Victoria quick, who in turn threw the ball straight back at him.
The Blues batsman hadn't even left his crease and made no indication that he was looking for a run as the ball clattered into his foot.
Pattinson tried to apologise but Hughes was clearly irate as he stared down the bowler before taking off his helmet and limping away.
The bad blood between the pair continued with a series of verbal barbs before they walked back to the pavilion at the tea break.
Analysing the incident on Fox Sports' coverage, former Test spinner Kerry O’Keeffe said Pattinson's actions were unacceptable.
“The two most unsavoury aspects are, A) the send-off when you’ve got somebody out and, B) the chuck at the stumps by a bowler,” O’Keeffe told Fox Cricket.
“Are we the only country that does it? Like, Mitch Starc does it for fun in England and he gets booed. Is it the way we play our cricket? You hit it back to the bowler, he picks it up and wants to peg you – I mean, what is going on there?
“The ball is dead once it’s in his hands. Walk back to the mark and bowl it again.”
Brendon Julian added: “He wasn’t even going for a run. You can’t do that. You’ve got to tidy that up.”
Fellow former Test star Brad Haddin also called it a "bad look" with viewers condemning Pattinson on social media.
This is absolute disgrace from James Pattinson. He throws the ball back at Dan Hughes in frustration, while Hughes wasn't even trying to run, not even out of the crease. Pathetic. #SheffieldShield pic.twitter.com/BuNFnF1C7q
— Izz (@Pacebouncy) November 8, 2021
Good knock there from Hughes to carry his bat, especially after the disgraceful act of Pattinson to throw the ball straight at him that served no game purpose and wack him on the leg in a questionable incident that has to be looked at #sheffieldshield
— Chris Stevens (@TheLadfromAus) November 8, 2021
Scenes at the MCG as James Pattinson hurls the ball back at Daniel Hughes in frustration and leaves him in considerable pain. Hughes not impressed.#SheffieldShield
— Andrew McGlashan (@andymcg_cricket) November 8, 2021
Absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary attempt by Pattinson to peg the ball back at Hughes’ stumps. I hope the match referee sanctions him for that pathetic act.
— Rowan de Groen (@StuffedShoulder) November 8, 2021
Pattinson's frustrations were in stark contrast to fellow Victoria quick Boland, who continued his incredible start to the Sheffield Shield season to put himself into the Ashes conversation.
Quick Scott Boland stars for Victoria
Boland (5-56) claimed the final two wickets of the match at the MCG on Monday to give Victoria a second straight victory to begin the season.
The 32-year-old grabbed his seventh first-class five-wicket haul to finish with match figures of 8-89, doing it in front of new Australian selector Tony Dodemaide, who was watching on from the stands.
It follows up Boland's outstanding match haul of 7-73 in the season-opening win over NSW in Sydney last week.
He now has 15 wickets at an average of 10.8 to start the summer to put him in serious contention for a call-up ahead of the Ashes.
Victoria captain Peter Handscomb has no doubt his improving quick is ready for selection in Australia's Test squad.
Boland has played 14 ODIs and three Twenty20s for Australia, but has never worn the baggy green.
"He's been doing this for five, six years - it's nothing new," Hands comb said.
"It's incredible bowling and the figures speak for themselves.
"I'd love to see him have a crack at that next level, and if that moment does come, I'm sure he's going to grab it with both hands and show Australia what he can do.
"Every ball he did bowl (this match) had a really good question on it, asking the batter whether to play or leave.
"He's just doing great stuff and that's a great audition for him."
Victoria secured the outright win later than expected, largely thanks to a heroic unbeaten 89 from NSW opener Hughes.
He saw off 319 balls to carry his bat, watching on from the non-strikers end when Boland trapped injured Blues veteran Trent Copeland lbw with less than an hour remaining in the match.
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