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The Peter puzzle: Why is Peter Siddle being picked for Australia?

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Roar Rookie
16th January, 2019
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“We love Siddle ‘cause he’s a Victorian,” chanted bays of fans at the MCG on Day 3 of the 2013 Boxing Day Test after Peter Siddle trapped Michael Carberry LBW for 14.

The 2013-14 Ashes series would be the last in which Peter Siddle featured regularly as Australia’s third seamer. For the next three or so years he would feature sporadically at Test level as the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins began to emerge as Australia’s new crop of fast bowlers.

After a two-year hiatus Peter Siddle emerged as an injury replacement for a tour of the UAE and now finds himself in the squad to face both India and Sri Lanka. Siddle isn’t just a possible third seaming option for Australia anymore; he’s Victoria’s third seamer, with Scott Boland and Chris Tremain sitting atop the Sheffield Shield wickets this season.

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It leaves you to wonder why one of those two – and you can add young West Australian Jhye Richardson to that as well – isn’t first of the bench for the Test side.

While Siddle had once been a more than serviceable Test bowler, his ODI selection was a real headscratcher.

After a nine-year hiatus from ODI cricket Siddle was recalled to the Australian one-day squad to provide veteran leadership to the other young and inexperienced quicks in Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Billy Stanlake. The results spoke for themselves.

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His return to ODI cricket has seen figures of 1-48 off eight and 0-58 off eight, with his only wicket being tailender Kuldeep Yadav. His economy rate is over a run a ball (6.62) and his strike rate is a whopping 96.00.

He has yet to bowl his allotted ten overs and was overlooked to bowl crucial death overs in Adelaide last night – those were left to Behrendorff in his second ODI. Behrendorff is primarily a new-ball bowler as well, so that alone doesn’t reflect well on Siddle as the senior member of the fast bowling attack.

With age – Siddle is 34 – okay domestic form, a prime that peaked nearly five years ago and proven ODI bowlers like Kane Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile in form, why is Peter Siddle being selected? His BBL form from 12 months ago isn’t valid anymore, yet since Justin Langer has taken the reins as head coach Siddle has come from out of nowhere to feature in four of Langer’s five squads. That’s just some food for thought.

While Behrendorff and Richardson have earnt spots through continued form to replace the resting Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins and with Nathan Lyon being trialled as a second spinning option for the World Cup starting in May, Siddle’s inclusion has been both unwarranted and unsuccessful.