Siddle is ready to prove that he really is a Test match specialist
Australia pace bowler Peter Siddle has announced that he is more than happy to remain as a Test match specialist for his country, and added that he does not mind being left out of limited overs series.
Australia believe that if they use Siddle as their lethal weapon in the longer format of the game, then it will give them a higher chance of defeating South Africa in the upcoming Test series, which would see them reclaim the top spot on the Test team rankings.
Last summer, the national selectors branded Siddle as “Test matches only” material since he had the ability to break partnerships with relative ease.
Siddle had been training with former bowling coach Craig McDermott and is now able to consistently move the ball.
With his newfound ability, Siddle will be looking to tear through the South African batting lineup with some aggressive bowling.
Australia will also square off with Sri Lanka and India before playing two back-to-back Ashes series against arch-rivals England.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Siddle said: “I want to play one-day cricket, but there’s a lot at stake at the moment for the Test team, with the 18 months we’ve got coming up, it’s going to be very busy, I think we’ve got about 20 Tests in that time, so there’s a lot of cricket to be played, and to get back to No. 1 we need to be ready, we need to be fresh and playing some consistent cricket. The best way forward for that is the approach we’re taking. You’d like to play all forms, but the amount of cricket that gets played now it is hard to fit all that in as one player. I’m happy with it and I haven’t had too many injuries, so the best thing for me to concentrate on Test cricket and staying out on the park is to get everything right and have a good crack at the next 16-18 months in the Tests and see how we go after that.”
Since their whitewash of India in January this year, Siddle has become so concentrated on his classification as a Test specialist that he was left out of Victoria’s first two domestic limited overs matches against Western Australia and Queensland.
However, Siddle stated this situation arose after he, Cricket Australia and Victoria agreed upon having him play as many as four Sheffield Shield matches before the start of the South Africa series.
“Both parties worked together along with myself to work out what’s going to be my best preparation for the summer lead-up, so it was just a matter of by missing those games it didn’t get my schedule too cluttered, and it meant that I can have decent recoveries and get ready for the next Shield game. I think I can play three, maybe four Shield games before the first Test, which gives me enough opportunities to get good rhythm, lots of overs under my belt and get that body ready and hardened at the start of the year for what’s going to be a big summer here and a big 18 months internationally as well,” Siddle said.
Australia will go into the Test series relying on Siddle and his pace bowling partner Ben Hilfenhaus to get early wickets, while the younger trio of James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are set to keep rotating between the Test matches in order to ensure that they don’t fall victim to any more injuries.
Veteran fast bowler Ryan Harris has all but ruled himself out of the South Africa series, but hopes to make a comeback during the Sri Lanka series later in the year, as he is still recovering from having shoulder surgery two months ago.
Should any of the Australian bowlers fall prey to injury, the team management will not be too concerned since they have a stock of well experienced bowlers, including the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Jackson Bird, Ben Cutting, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood, who will all be available for selection.
“By the sounds of it that’s what they’re talking about, and the one positive with that theory is that the blokes around the group other than myself and Hilfy have played at the high level, which is a massive positive for us as a team, if James Pattinson goes down with a niggle or does get rested, a bloke like Mitchell Starc comes in or a Pat Cummins, those types of guys have played at that level and they do understand the work that goes into winning a Test match. All in all it is going to be a positive, and as long as we can all stay fit and strong and it works well for us in the results we can keep moving forward. It’s going to generate a stronger bowling unit and a stronger side in coming years,” Siddle said.
Siddle has bowled for Victoria in Perth and Brisbane during his time out of the national squad, and this should provide him with some experience and an advantage of what the conditions will be like since two of the Test matches against South Africa will be played at these venues.
“Especially being a fast bowler they’re probably two venues which give you a bit of assistance, which does help at the start of the season when you’re working into things and getting into a bit of rhythm and consistency, so it is a bit of an advantage in my sense that I get a bit of an easier run into the season, but it does give me a chance to get out on those grounds before the summer and just get a chance to play on them and get a feel for them again,” Siddle added.