Peter Siddle’s last white-ball cricket match had come in 2010, in a series against Sri Lanka at home. Australia lost that home series and Siddle never played an ODI or T20I again. Until 2018 that is, when his fortunes look to have changed for the better.
It hasn’t been the greatest of Test matches for Australia, the second they have played in the series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. They are already chasing a 500-plus score and to top that they have had two of their players, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Starc suffering from injuries.
But one man’s problems – Starc in this case – have turned into another’s joy as Siddle has now been asked to stay back with the Australian side for their T20I series against Pakistan.
And if Starc is unable to recover from his hamstring issue in time, Australia wouldn’t want to risk him for the T20Is in a bid to get him fit for the home series against India. And that’s where Siddle could have his chance.
The 33-year-old Siddle has been a long-forgotten Aussie as far as the white-ball format is concerned but even in Tests, his last game came in November 2016, nearly two years before the start of this series against Pakistan. At that time, with flagging pace and not much movement to offer, Siddle’s international career looked like it was over.
Not for Siddle though. With Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson all ruled of this series because of one or the other injury, Siddle’s recent domestic performances and his ability to hold one end up in Test match cricket look to have come handy.
Siddle was drafted into the Test squad as a result and on back-breaking UAE pitches, he has toiled manfully to pick up three wickets at 56 so far. Even Starc has only four wickets to his account.
The Victorian’s T20I comeback is even more startling. Siddle has never looked like a bowler suited to the T20 format but he did have a good Big Bash League season last, picking up 11 wickets for the Adelaide Strikers and conceding a measely 5.94.
In fact among fast bowlers who had scalped at least four wickets, Siddle’s economy-rate of less than six was the lowest. As such his recall to white ball cricket is much deserved and it would be interesting to watch how he goes during the three-match series.
Pakistan and Australia were recently involved in a T20I tri-series with Zimbabwe where they played each other thrice including the final. Pakistan won two of those three matches to win the title. This three-match series in UAE begins on October 24, with matches on October 26 and 28 as well.