Australia news October 9, 2012

Siddle happy to skip short formats


Peter Siddle has embraced his classification as a Test match specialist, reasoning his exclusive use in the game's longest form will give Australia their best chance of emerging from a hectic 18-month schedule with major series victories and the ICC's No. 1 ranking.

Recalling the career of his childhood hero and fellow Victorian Merv Hughes, 27-year-old Siddle was labelled "Test matches only" by the Australian selectors last summer after they recognised his worth as a high energy impact bowler and partnership breaker.

To earn that mantle, Siddle had refined his methods and discovered how to move the ball consistently under the tutelage of Craig McDermott. Now harnessing a greater shrewdness alongside his former aggression, Siddle will be the heartbeat of Australia's pace attack over a period that begins with Tests against South Africa and Sri Lanka at home before the rigours of an India Test tour and back-to-back Ashes series.

"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," Siddle told ESPNcricinfo. "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."

So focused has Siddle become on four and five-day matches that he was kept out of Victoria's first two domestic limited overs fixtures against Western Australia and Queensland. Siddle said this was done by mutual agreement between the Cricket Australia, the Bushrangers and himself, as part of a plan to have him play as many as four Sheffield Shield fixtures before the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba.

"Both parties worked together along with myself to work out what's going to be my best preparation for the summer lead-up," Siddle said. "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."

Australia's pace bowling roster for the Test summer ahead is likely to see the mature duo of Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus shoulder a considerable load, leaving the younger trio of James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins to be used more judiciously. The recovering Ryan Harris should factor in the second half of the summer against Sri Lanka, while beneath them is a strong reserve brigade including Mitchell Johnson, Jackson Bird, Ben Cutting, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood.

"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," Siddle said. "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."

Bowling for Victoria in Perth and Brisbane at the outset of the season has provided Siddle with a useful reconnaissance ahead of the South Africa series, as the first and third Tests are scheduled for those venues. Siddle excelled on both grounds last summer, but said he was glad to have the chance to reconfigure his sights for the new season.

"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," Siddle said. "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."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Christopher on October 12, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    @zenboomerang.Im pleased to see you will be hanging on my every word. Perhaps if you paid equal attention to observation of evidence trails & probability based outcomes, you might progress. While there are no guarantees, I work on an 85% probability model based on evidence. In the 18+ months that Ive been applying it on this site, I have close to a 100% success rate. In Cummin's case, I opposed his selection for Tests based on his lack of 1st class cricket ( 4 day cricket), his age & having been injured most probably by over bowling in the Shield Final. Under those circumstances,I suggested it highly probable he would sustain an injury playing 5 day cricket & his continued selection would exacerbate it, as in fact happened.The very high early season percentage of LBW,bowled & caught behind the wicket suggest trying to force the ball,either across the line or injudiciously.Older players have games that pre-date 20/20 to call on.Our youth have no such luxury.Hence their erratic form.

  • Roo on October 12, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @hyclass... Following your logic, then Oz having not played a Test in 7 mths will be rusty, while the Saffa's will be in hot form from their series against NZ then Eng recently... So will be amusingly awaiting your comms if we lose the 1st &/or 2nd Tests & then you blame players skills when they are surely lacking match practice (by your logic)... & if we win/draw either, then your logic is out the window - isn't it?... lol...

  • Christopher on October 11, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    @Meety..Always good to lock horns.Lets agree to disagree with respect to Cummins in SA and an evidence trail that I believe has significant supporting data and substance and hardly qualifies as a 'severe' stretch.When one considers that 5 day games are deemed a significant step up from 4 day games, I believe months without any long form cricket will be relevant, even in a second Test. If Australia were to play SA without any Shield or 4 day warm-ups for months, is it so hard to believe that they might struggle for concentration? It seems to be a quirk of modern international scheduling. This is one of those discourses where due to a complete lack of 1st class history, we are unable to do more than hold our own positions. My methods of researched evidence trails & probability have done particularly well. Until Cummins has the fitness and opportunity to demonstrate his legitimacy in long format cricket with validating performances,this debate will remain an esoteric discussion.

  • Warrick on October 11, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    Glad to see the players can differentiate between the various formats these seems some selectors have had an issue with that in the past. I would prefer to judge Siddle post Punter captaincy. IMO Punter was too impatient with his bowling plans towards the end of his reign, at times aborting a plan mid over. Hilf & Siddle were proliffic with their FC teams, then struggled in the Oz team. Under Clarke they appear to be blossoming again. They have both improved thier accuracy which has been the key to their success. Their physical attributes will hold them in good stead over the course of a test match & their acquired skill means they will always do a bit with the ball. Siddle bowls his last over as if it was his first, making it hard for a batsman to think he's going to get on top of him. Others like Pattinson & Starc will need to learn from them. Our test team really needs a competent no.6 who bowls spin. Steeve O'keefe springs to mind.

  • Andrew on October 11, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    @ hyclass on (October 10 2012, 12:29 PM GMT) - again good observations, but the relevance of Sth Africa being "a SA side that hadn't played long form cricket for months.." by the SECOND Test is again severely questionable & not needed in an otherwise good post.

  • Geoffrey on October 10, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    @Meety- check out Geoff Plumridge on Weetbix mycricket. Then come back and tell me how English I am.

  • Christopher on October 10, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    I agree with @Dashgar re Cummins. Before he was selected to play SA, I suggested that given his age & the fact that he had been injured bowling in a 4 day game( Shield Final), playing him in a 5 day game might cause further injury, which did in fact prove to be the case. His performance in the second innings of the second Test was against a SA side that hadn't played long form cricket for months and clearly lacked matched fitness. The first Test only lasted a little over 2 days, not testing anybodys concentration or stamina. Clearly by later in the Second Test, that became an issue. His supposed roughing up of the great Kallis was barely above 140kph at the time-hardly the same as Johnston's left arm,150kph+ in swing thunderbolts that we all remember doing the same to Kallis and Smith. Cummins has developed 2 further injuries since. Often while avoiding one area,another is aggravated.Arthur stated his philosophy was to throw the fast men to the wolves-hardly the work of a genius.

  • Andrew on October 10, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @smudgeon on (October 10 2012, 07:25 AM GMT) - 16 wickets at the Gabba - great bowling or poor batting? Commentator said it was great bowling & fielding. I see a bit of a trend with bowlers just testing the patience of batsmen & it seems to be working. @OzzyHammond - steady on there old chap, shouldn't you be hunkering down for the harsh northern winter? The stuff about Fleming & Waugh though - that was GOLD! (funny in a sad sort of way). Say G'day to Lizzy for me!

  • Geoffrey on October 10, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    I think after watching them beat the worlds number one test team at home with relative ease I think SA will tear Australia a new one. I think the defeat will be so thorough that who knows? Maybe they'll have another Argus Report? :)

  • wayne on October 10, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    The batting may be a concern (although I think they are potentially a good - but not great - unit), but the cup's overflowing with bowlers right now. I keep thinking I really want to see Starc in the side, but at the expense of whom? I wouldn't like to be the one trying to juggle Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Pattinson with Cummins, Starc, and a whole bevy of FC talents under the age of 27. I know they keep talking about rotation, but I think a four-man pace attack of Sid, Hilf, Pattinson, and Starc have the potential to be the match of any batting unit in most conditions. Of course, then where would a four-quick attack leave Lyon? Jeez. Good luck, Inverarity - keep Mitch out of the side, and you'll have my respect, dude.

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