County news March 31, 2015

Voges, Siddle Test calls create county headaches

Adam Voges was installed as Middlesex four-day captain © Getty Images

The selection of Adam Voges and Peter Siddle for Australia's Test squad has caused headaches for Middlesex and Lancashire respectively. Both counties will now have to rethink their plans for overseas players this season.

Voges and Siddle signed season-long county deals but will now only be able to play a small part in domestic cricket this summer.

To add to the frustration around the counties, Yorkshire are awaiting confirmation of the dates for the tour of India by Australia A this summer, plus information about any training camp arrangements, before finalising a plan regarding Twenty20 overseas recruit Glenn Maxwell.

Middlesex brought in 35-year-old Voges as a replacement for Chris Rogers and appointed him their four-day captain. Without a Test debut his call up for Australia appeared a long-shot but an outstanding season down under, where Voges scored 1358 runs at 104.46 in the Sheffield Shield, made him impossible for the Test selectors to ignore.

"When we signed him we made the decision that Chris Rogers would be in the Ashes squad we would so we'd go for someone who we didn't think would be," Angus Fraser, Middlesex director of cricket, told ESPNcricinfo. "I don't think Adam was on Australia's radar. He had been left out of Australia's one-day squad for a while and in his mind and everyone else's Australia had possibly passed him by.

"We've sat down and talked about this possibility for a period of time and we've got a number of irons in the fire. It's blow but we're delighted for him in the same way.

"We've got to know Adam quite well in the last few years and you realise what a cracking bloke he is and obviously what a good player he is. He's had a magnificent year and deserves his selection but obviously it means that we have to rejig our plans."

Middlesex should have Voges available for the first four matches of the campaign and Fraser said that Voges will be captain for those matches. The search begins for a replacement for the remainder of the season with a decision on the captaincy dependent on what overseas players are available. Middlesex could turn back to Neil Dexter who captained the side in all formats from June 2010 to April 2012.

Lancashire's overseas plans are similarly up in the air. They thought they had secured Siddle with his return to the Australian Test side unlikely. He was dropped during the series against India and not offered a central contract with a crop of young fast bowlers emerging. But with injury doubts surrounding some of those younger men, the selectors chose to pick Siddle again for both tours.

With Australia touring the West Indies before the Ashes, both men are, prima facie, ruled out of most of the domestic season in the UK. Voges will be able to play in Middlesex's first four Championship matches before leaving for the West Indies. Siddle may be available for a similar schedule but might be required to rest.

"Although it's pretty frustrating for us we are over the moon for Peter," Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles said. "When you sign an international bowler of his calibre there is always a possibility that this will happen but we are still hopeful that Peter will be available for the start of our campaign. The hunt for a replacement begins now."

Gloucestershire may also have an issue after their second overseas player, Victorian batsman Peter Handscomb, was selected for the Australia A squad.

Alex Winter is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo He tweets here

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