Given Australia's injury-hit fast-bowling resources in the run-up to a long season, that includes the Ashes and four Tests in South Africa next year, fast bowler Peter Siddle should be part of selection discussions, according to Victoria coach Andrew McDonald. Siddle has only recently made his return to competitive cricket after almost a year on the sidelines due to injury.
McDonald, who coaches Siddle in the Victoria side, told Sydney Morning Herald that dismissing the 32-year-old quick from any selection discussion would be "pretty stupid", given the bowler's steady performances in the JLT One-Day Cup and the Test team's schedule over the summer. Moreover, two of Australia's frontline quicks, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, are recovering from injuries, while James Pattinson, seen as the fourth member of the pace attack, was recently ruled out of the Ashes after a back injury.
"If you look at his numbers in this competition...I'd say he'd be involved in some conversation," McDonald said. "I reckon they'd be pretty stupid to dismiss him out of any conversation at the moment, in particular with the long summer ahead and four Test matches in South Africa. You're looking at nine Test matches and that can be quite physical. I haven't heard his name mentioned and I'd say he should be."
Before the JLT One-Day Cup, Siddle last played in the Test against South Africa in Perth last year, where he picked up a back injury. That Test had marked Siddle's return to international cricket after a long injury lay-off due to a back stress fracture on the side's tour of New Zealand in March 2016. McDonald believes Siddle, who has played 62 Tests so far, is ideal to keep one end locked in a game.
"[Siddle's] probably not the fashionable one with, I suppose, the more ball-speed players, but if you wanted someone to lock in an end he'd be probably first picked in most sides," McDonald said. "He had an unfortunate situation last year where he was probably a little bit underdone going into the summer.
"They rolled the dice, so to speak, and it probably didn't work out well. But he's pretty well placed, had a solid pre-season and those back issues seem to be behind him. As you saw today he is quality and when he's fit he's more than serviceable. He'd be pretty handy as a back-up or a starter."
In the four matches of the JLT One-Day Cup so far, Siddle has taken seven wickets, returning wicketless in only one game. He has made contributions with the bat too, including a knock of 62 at No. 9 in a tense chase against Queensland, which eventually ended up in a losing cause.