Reborn Siddle thought Test career was over
Peter Siddle has admitted he feared his Test career was over after he was ignored for Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, but now hopes a roaring return to his familiar role in the Australia XI will cause the selectors to reconsider their opinion of him.
There was considerable dismay at Siddle's omission from Trent Bridge in particular, and he spoke frankly of all the factors that he felt should have forced his inclusion in the team for Nottingham. "You always think that a little bit," he said of never playing again. "A couple of wickets that we'd played on where I thought I might've got my opportunity and had missed out. You just never know.
"Trent Bridge, I've had good success there, played county cricket there as well, so I know the ground. It was disappointing, but kept doing everything I can and make sure that if my opportunity came that I had to be ready to go. I felt pretty good coming into this game. It was just nice to get a few wickets, to get the team on a good roll and get us into this position. It's nice. The boys have played well."
The selectors Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann had spoken often with Siddle about the numerous and varying reasons why he had been ignored for the Tests thus far. It was mainly to do with their conviction that the attack of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood was superior in all conditions. Events at The Oval have begged to differ, as Siddle has played a pivotal role in keeping runs down while adding vital wickets.
"I think it's just the boys that had been playing had performed well," Siddle said. "The lads finished off the summer well, went to the West Indies and performed well and they got their opportunity. That's how it works I guess. I just had to make sure I was ready when my opportunity came. I was disappointed it did take so long, but I was ready at any stage. It's no different now. There's never any Test match that you never want to have a crack in.
"To get back together with the bowling line-up we had - it was pretty similar, a few different faces -and have those five key bowlers and be able to work in tandem. My role is to try and be patient, build pressure and restrict the runs. I enjoy doing that. I enjoy playing for the country. It's just lovely to be back out on the field and playing, and the team doing well."
A looming tour of Bangladesh would appear not to be as ideally suited to Siddle's skills, but later assignments against New Zealand at home and away may be more amenable. Siddle is certainly more hopeful of an opportunity now than he had been two weeks ago.
"It's obviously tough being on the sidelines and carrying drinks . . . especially at my age. It's only 30 but you still want to be out there," he said. "It has been tough, but to get this opportunity and come out here and bowl well ... I've felt comfortable, the team has performed well. Blokes batted well and the bowling group has been outstanding. It's just great to be in this position."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig