Vodafone Men's Ashes
Siddle urges rotation policy for Australia's Ashes defence
Ex-Test fast bowler looks ahead to this summer's visit by England as he signs a one-year contract extension with the Adelaide Strikers
14 July 2021, 05:16 PM AEST
Former Test quick Peter Siddle has urged Australia to rotate their fast bowlers during this summer's Vodafone Ashes series against England, warning against picking the same three quicks as the Aussies did in their series defeat to India last season.
Siddle was part of a three-man pace attack that played all five Tests in their famous Ashes whitewash eight years ago, playing alongside the unstoppable Mitchell Johnson and veteran Ryan Harris as well as spinner Nathan Lyon.
But the now 36-year-old says that campaign should be viewed as an outlier due to Johnson's record-breaking campaign, where he famously terrorised England by taking 37 wickets in the 5-0 thrashing.
Siddle believes Australia's Ashes defence in 2019, when he was one of five fast bowlers picked during the series, is the blueprint selectors should follow this summer.
Having started the Indian series by bowling the tourists out for a record low score of 36 in Adelaide, the performances of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Starc dropped off late in the summer as India's batsmen responded to secure a famous 2-1 series victory.
After four consecutive Tests in less than a month, selector Trevor Hohns later conceded that giving his pacemen a rest during the series was "possibly something that could have been done".
With six Tests to be crammed into seven-and-a-half weeks this summer (one against Afghanistan and five against England) and with the likes of James Pattinson and Michael Neser waiting in the wings, Siddle says rotating the pace attack is the right approach.
"We were blessed in that series (in 2013-14) with the series that Mitch had," said Siddle, who has signed a one-year contract extension with the Adelaide Strikers in the KFC BBL.
"He took so many wickets so fast for us that we weren't bowling a hell of a lot of overs. We could get away with it and there was a good shared wicket-taking list where we all contributed where we had to. How dominant he was, it made it a lot easier on the rest of us.
"And we've seen with the last two series against India in Australia, if there isn't a really dominant force then it does take time to bowl the opposition out and a long innings does take a toll on individuals.
"So I think we're going to have to be prepared to maybe rotate and have guys ready to go.
"We had Patto and Ness in and around that group waiting for an opportunity and when you've got blokes … ready to go, (playing) one Test here and there, similar to what we did in the Ashes over in England (in 2019), I think that's a good look at the summer and how we can go about it."
Siddle was picked for the first, second and fifth Tests of Australia's successful Ashes defence two years ago, while Starc played only once and Cummins was the only fast bowler who played the whole series.
Siddle conceded telling big-name players that they're being rested during a showpiece series like the Ashes can be difficult, but the 2019 experience proved it can work.
"It keeps guys hungry as well, when you miss out on opportunities," he said.
"Mitch (Starc) was flying (in 2019), he was looking good, he was bowling well, but so was everyone else.
"When the whole bowling group is strong and they get along well and they're happy with everyone's success and how guys a going, I think it works well.
"Sometimes you might not feel like you need a rest, but you have that one week off and you hit the ground running harder the next game and actually perform better than you would have in the previous one.
"As long as the bowlers are in a good place, which can sometimes be hard because everyone wants to represent their country, it can definitely work.
"From a coaching point of view, how we set up in England was they knew roughly (ranked) one to five the bowlers in order at different venues and who was going to play. And then it all depends on injury and workload and how the wicket looked when we got there."
Siddle, who will be 37 by the time the BBL starts this summer, says he's not set a time limit on his career and believes the performances of West Indian veterans Chris Gayle (41) and Dwayne Bravo (37) against Australia this week shows there's no reason why he can't keep playing.
"If you're still performing and still offering something, I can't see why age is a factor," he said.
"I don't actually know when I'm going to end. It could be at the end of this year that I decide that I'm done, and I'll move on. I could be done at the end of the year, or I could be still playing in two or three years' time."
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Dec 8-12: First Test, The Gabba
Dec 16-20: Second Test, Adelaide Oval
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 5-9: Fourth Test, SCG
Jan 14-18: Fifth Test, Perth Stadium