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