Australia news February 22, 2012

Selectors want Siddle as Test-only for now


Peter Siddle will be unleashed in the West Indies as a Test match spearhead rather than taking part in Australia's forthcoming ODI assignments, the national selector John Inverarity has said.

In a sign that the selectors are shaping Siddle into Michael Clarke's equivalent of the kind of role Merv Hughes performed for Allan Border in the 1990s, Inverarity said the panel wanted Siddle to maintain the "lionhearted" standards he set against New Zealand and India, rather than adjusting his plans for the demands of ODIs.

In a similar fashion, Hughes played few limited-overs matches for Australia, as the panel then chaired by Laurie Sawle preferred the Victorian fast man to give his all in Test matches, where he commonly took the critical wickets in sharp spells. Siddle now appears to be treading a path similar to the one that took Hughes to 212 Test wickets.

"His bowling during the Test matches was outstanding, and we really look forward to letting him loose in the West Indies," Inverarity told ESPNcricinfo. "He was lionhearted and wonderful [against India] and we look forward to him returning there. But just at the moment he's not in our short-term ODI plans."

Under Clarke, Siddle has commonly been used in shorter, more incisive Test match spells than those he delivered under Ricky Ponting, also benefiting from the fuller length and discipline advocated by the bowling coach Craig McDermott - Hughes' former pace partner. Against India he repeatedly broke key partnerships before Ben Hilfenhaus and others cleaned up in his wake, until Siddle had his reward with a Man-of-the-Match haul in the final Test in Adelaide.

In his absence, the Australian limited-overs squad is re-assembling in Hobart for Friday's ODI against Sri Lanka. Xavier Doherty, the Tasmanian left-arm spinner, will play his first international on his home ground, and said there would be a decidedly different feel to the dressing room in Ponting's absence after he was dropped from the one-day side.

"It's going to be very different," Doherty said. "Having Ricky around for the last 15-16 years, he's the guy who's got all the energy in the group so that role's probably going to have to shift to someone else now. So it's going to be a very different feel and probably different for the public to come to watch.

"Like Ricky said, if you don't put the runs on or take the wickets then you leave yourself up for this sort of outcome. It is unfortunate that this is the way it's gone, but in professional sport that is the way things go."

Doherty has bowled reliably across the series, often entrusted with later overs in the innings, where his variations in pace, accuracy and occasional spin have prospered.

"Early on in the tournament I probably took wickets, which is the credit for some of the other guys doing the hard work," Doherty said. "In the last couple of games it's probably me doing some of the hard work and they've been the ones to get the rewards, so I feel pretty comfortable in the team now, it's taken a little while to settle in, but I feel like I can do whatever's asked of me."

As a limited-overs spinner, Doherty said he had been aided by his experiences in Twenty20 matches, which placed greater emphasis on him to be precise every time he delivered the ball.

"There's no doubt that T20 cricket is having an impact on the other forms," he said. "You have a look at Dave Warner's progression, Malinga, it's cut-throat stuff in T20, whereas in 50-over cricket you do get a little bit more leeway so the skills of T20 are definitely rubbing off on some of the other forms. A lot of people have negative things to say about T20 but I think from my point of view it's all positive."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brendan on February 24, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    I think the selectors are making a shrewd decision, Sid Vicious, is the leader of our new pace battery, the younger bowlers love him, and respect him. He was wasted being a containment bowler, because Mitchell Johnson, was no better than a 145 klick, pie chucker. So Sid`, had to reduce his 155+ klick bowling, to mid 130`s, to try and contain the run-rate. Now he is leading the Test attack, and has a shrewd Captain, knowing his pace and aggression, breaks partnerships. I also think you will find, in the bigger ODI tounaments, Sid will lead the attack, Bing Lee is over the hill, he is nothing more than a 145 klick, back-up, for our real bowlers, now. But Binga, is serving a purpose, we can rest our top line fast bowlers, while Binga`, is still doing the job.

  • Harry on February 23, 2012, 22:34 GMT

    Just shakes my head at some of these posts. Listen folks, one day crcket just does not rate with tests. Period. I would rather win a test series and lose 10 one dayers. We got so many bowlers who can slot into the one day side without weakening the attack it isn't funny. Test clast bowlers need to be looked after and we have somewhat less available than one day bowlers. I am really getting excited by the calibre of our place bowlers coming through, it is sure to be somewhat of a golden period for Aussie cricket. I just wish we had batsmen in the same numbers and maybe some good leggies. Sound decision by the selctors, we are focussed for that #1 spot and there appears to be a plan in place to achieve it.

  • Rajaram on February 23, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    Sid Vicious! Unleash him on the Windies!

  • Terry on February 23, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Lets see where we are 12 months or so before the 2015 World Cup. Am happy to see the likes of Siddle concentrate on Tests til then and the ODI's be used to bring through bowlers into international cricket. What is happening in ODI's is that the 2 new balls are taking out the mid innings dead period with a softer ball and making wicket taking more important ... the scores lately have been on the lower side compared to a few years ago it seems. It may well be when we get to 2015 that wicket takers who might go for a few are prized over honest tight trundlers. On that theme it surprised me to see Pakistan play the ODI's with defensive fields against English batsmen who might have been intimidated by more close fielders .... the result, no pressure and twin centuries for Cook & Pietersen.

  • David on February 23, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    when a bowler is in good form he should be picked in the best possible team regardless of the format except when fatigue sets in. Siddle's form this summer has been outstanding and the fans will flock to see a fast bowler at the peak of his powers. McKay is an honest trier and there is no future in Lee. I have been screaming at the telly for a couple of years at Siddle to pitch up and, now that he is, he's getting the rewards as well as adding several yards in pace.

  • Bede on February 23, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Siddle, Pattinson, Starc and Cummins together are going to be brilliant to watch in the longest form of the game and will lead Australia back to the top of the Test Rankings within the next few years. It is a good decision by the Australian Selectors to leave Siddle as a longer form specialist while Starc, Cummins, Lee, Hilfenhaus and possibly Pattinson keep us at the top of the ODI rankings

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    The selectors job is to pick the best team available for each match NOTHING ELSE!... if Siddle is considered to be one of the top 4 one day bowlers then he should be picked regardless of tests, 20-20's etc etc. I don't understand how selectors don't understand this.

  • Brendan on February 23, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Good idea by selectors, save your Test spearhead, for Tests only, especially when Sid Vicious, gives his all every ball he bowls. His pace slowly dropped off from 155 klicks, to between 145 and 150 klicks, over the 6 Tests, this Summer. Look at the Melbourne Test, last over of the day, bowls Tendulkar with a 151 klick, Jaffer. How many bowlers who have bowled a lot of overs in a days play, can bowl thunderbolts like that in the last over. Also, i think Sids pace goes against him in ODI`s, top edges fly for 6`s, once you crack the 150 klicks mark, and because he knows he only has 10 overs maximum, he bowls to fast. He also broke down in ODI`s, with back stress fractures, after he let fly a 158.3 klick, thunderbolt.

  • hayden on February 23, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    great thinking by selectors, siddle is the test attack leader now and he needs to be fit to lead the even less experienced bowlers in tests. i thought he was just an honest workhoarse type bowler before this summer but he is the real deal! want to see more of pattinson and cummings, australian fast bowling prospects have never looked so exciting. cant wait for the windies tests!

  • Christian on February 23, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    I've spent the whole first half of this ODI tri-series wondering why the successful Test bowlers from the India series are being left aside in favour of McKay and Harris. Yes Harris played Tests, but nowhere near as successfully as Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Starc. Wickets early are key to 50-over games, as few sides have the solid batting in the lower order to maintain the run-rate for a long period.

    Having said all that, the rotation policy is a very good thing for fast bowlers. It is such a taxing activity for the body. I think Siddle would excel in ODIs but if this is the plan so that he can fire in the West Indies, so be it. Tests come first, at least here in Oz.

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