Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Aussies have lacked a bit of leadership: Siddle
Veteran quick embraces leadership role as Shane Watson claims selectors "have got it wrong" with past vice-captaincy appointments
Louis Cameron in Dubai
25 September 2018, 11:40 AM AEST
Peter Siddle hopes he can bring some stability to Australia's new-look Test team, saying the side has "lacked a little bit of leadership" in recent times.
Next month's two-Test series against Pakistan is Australia's first since the Cape Town ball-tampering saga that saw three players banned, leaving a fresh regime led by new coach Justin Langer and new captain Tim Paine eager to turn over a new leaf.
Siddle hasn't played a Test in almost two years but is the second-most capped player in the squad – his 62 Tests is topped only by Nathan Lyon's 78 – and the right-armer believes his reputation as a lion-hearted character played as much a part in his recall as his strong recent form in English county cricket.
"'JL' (Langer) has spoken a lot about good characters and good people coming into the side," he told cricket.com.au in Dubai.
"Just from an outside point of view, the side in the last little bit lacked a little bit of leadership.
"I think having the (tag of) captain or the vice-captain or any of those terms (next to your name), it's just about being a leader in your own right.
"Just doing what I do, lead by example, help out the young guys and help out the group. It's stuff I normally do, but you just want to get the right things done."
The identity of Paine's Test vice-captain, a decision made by national selectors and approved by the Cricket Australia board, is expected in the coming weeks.
Former Test allrounder Shane Watson, who was Michael Clarke's deputy between 2011 and 2013, argued this week that Paine should have the deciding vote in determining his deputy.
"I really believe the captain should have a massive influence because then there's more chance of getting that dynamic right," Watson told News Corp, saying selectors "have got it wrong" on several occasions in recent years, including with his own appointment as deputy.
"They make the decision which is the wrong one and in the end it means there's tension in the leadership group, which is the opposite to what you need.
"You want people complementing each other to help get the best out of the leadership group, not pulling in different ways."
The vice-captaincy looms as a key decision as Australia grapple with not only how to replace the runs they've come to expect from Steve Smith and David Warner, but also their on-field identity.
A further challenge awaits them in the UAE, where they've begun training ahead of a four-day tour game against Pakistan A beginning Saturday, given their improving but ultimately fruitless returns in the subcontinent in recent years.
Siddle made his Test debut against India in Mohali a decade ago and is confident he can pass on a few nuggets of wisdom to his teammates, even if he doesn't get picked for the first Test in Dubai.
"I've played in the subcontinent a lot in the past," said Siddle. "I got to play under some great guys in my first ever Test tour; 'Haydos' (Matthew Hayden) and 'Punter' (Ricky Ponting) and Brett Lee – guys like that who played a lot cricket.
"I've taken a lot of knowledge from them and hopefully I can pass on a bit of that to these guys and watch them go forward.
"Hopefully just being around the group and just giving a bit of knowledge about conditions (is helpful)."
Langer has been hands-on in his first Test tour at the helm and Siddle, who played under his predecessors Tim Nielsen, Mickey Arthur and Darren Lehmann, believes the Western Australian has brought a unique buzz to the squad.
"It's always fresh when a new person comes in and their personality and the way they coach and want to lead the team," he said.
"It always gives a good vibe around the group. He's very intense, people can understand the way he went about the game when he played, how switched on and how hard he worked.
"He knows his plans, he knows the way he wants the team to go. The boys are getting a good feel for that over the first couple of days."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai
Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi