Australia news July 31, 2014

Siddle building up his pace and strength

ESPNcricinfo staff

Peter Siddle is confident he is well on the way to regaining his place in Australia's Test team by boosting his strength and speed. Siddle was dropped from the Test side during the tour of South Africa in March and the coach Darren Lehmann said at the time that Siddle needed to lift his pace back up into the 140kph range instead of the low 130s.

A stint in county cricket with Nottinghamshire followed, but Siddle was then brought home early at the request of Cricket Australia, with the aim of working on his strength and speed ahead of October's Test series against Pakistan in the UAE. Siddle said his work was already paying off and he was increasing his strength in his "bum and legs".

"I definitely lost a couple of Ks [kilometres], that's for sure, but you can definitely find it back," Siddle told the Age. "Just with weights and getting strength back in my legs. [When] your bum's not as strong as it could be your legs are falling away and you can't get through the crease as well. Without doing the weights and the pre-seasons, you miss out on that. So [now] it's about getting as strong as you can."

Having Siddle at his best for the two Tests in the UAE will be important for the Australians, given that they will be without Ryan Harris, who is still recovering from knee surgery, while James Pattinson is on a slow comeback path from back stress fractures. Siddle said his drop in pace and strength was the natural result of his heavy workload over the past year, and nothing to do with his vegan diet.

"Footy players play for six months and have six months of pre-season so they're fit and strong by the time the next one comes around," he said. "With cricket it drags on and on. It happened with Mitchell Johnson. He had about three years of non-stop cricket and he started to fade away a bit with his pace, and that was only 18 months ago. Now he is bowling the fastest he has ever bowled.

"People say I'm not as strong, well come and watch me in a gym session, I'm stronger than I've ever been. That is the thing people don't understand. I'm lifting heavier weights than I've ever lifted. I'm moving better, It's just the fatigue; it gets everyone.

"You could go through 150 different Test cricketers who have slowed down in pace because they've played a lot of cricket. Kemar Roach is not bowling as fast as he used to. Is he still eating meat? It's a ridiculous thing. Look at Stuart Broad and James Anderson, they're not bowling as quick as they used to bowl."