Up to speed: James Pattinson is looking forward to the Ashes.

James Pattinson. Photo: Getty Images

James Pattinson will have minor abdominal surgery on Friday for a condition not related to cricket, which could cut short his preparation for the Ashes.

It's understood the condition, though serious enough to require an immediate operation, will not affect the 22-year-old's long-term health or cricket.

Cricket Australia has not disclosed the nature of the problem but chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said surgery was "absolutely necessary at this time".

The fast bowler complained of discomfort low in his abdomen late in the tour of India. "The recovery times will be determined once the surgery is completed but James is expected to return to training in approximately four weeks," Poaloni said.

Pattinson might not be ready for the Champions Trophy in June, meaning his next game could be the first of two warm-up games for the Ashes at the end of that month.

He is arguably the best fast bowler in the country, and his fitness is of immense importance to Australia's hopes of challenging England at home.

Pattinson has suffered a series of setbacks, most recently breaking down with a rib injury during the Adelaide Test, the point at which Australia's summer turned sour.