Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Tireless Siddle puts himself in Ashes frame
The indefatigable Victorian's efforts in Arabia have underlined his value to the Australians
Louis Cameron in Abu Dhabi
16 October 2018, 10:35 AM AEST
Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has backed returning veteran Peter Siddle to play a role in the Test team over the summer, as well as next year's Ashes series in the United Kingdom.
So eager was Siddle to return the fast bowling cartel after a two-year absence from the Test team that he took it upon himself to set up an 'on-tour' WhatsApp group purely for the pacemen in the UAE to face Pakistan.
The Victorian could hardly have made a better impression on the field as well. After getting the nod to play the first Test in Dubai, he performed a vital role on a lifeless surface in punishing heat during Pakistan's first innings by collecting 3-58 with 11 maidens in his 29 overs.
It came after he played a starring role for Essex in this year's County Championship to send a timely reminder of his capabilities in the UK, collecting 37 wickets at 16 in seven first-class games.
While the return of quicks Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood could force him out of the side come the home summer, Siddle has shown he's no spent force at Test level.
"There's no reason he can't play a part in the summer at all," Starc told cricket.com.au.
"When you're looking to England and the Ashes where he's just come off some success over there for Essex, there's absolutely no reason why he can't play a massive part in the next 12 months.
"He's always been that bowler who will work hard for you all day, he'll bowl that consistent line and length.
"Whether he's building pressure or taking wickets that way, he'll do it all day and all Test. It's fantastic to watch him go about his business and taking wickets for Australia."
Where Siddle sits in the pecking order once the Test series against Pakistan wraps up in Abu Dhabi later this week remains to be seen, but his success in England will undoubtedly have him on the radar for next year's Ashes campaign.
The right-armer toured with Australia's 2015 Ashes squad but was overlooked until the final Test when the urn had already been relinquished. Siddle has 43 wickets at 28.37 in 11 Ashes Tests abroad and has already re-signed with Essex for 2019.
Prior to his recall to face Pakistan, the right-armer last played for Australia at the beginning of the 2016-17 season in the midst of an injury-plagued few years.
But he put any doubts over his body behind him last summer as he played all but one of Victoria's 17 four- and one-day matches, then helped the Adelaide Strikers to their maiden KFC BBL crown, before backing up with his stint in the UK.
While Siddle struggled the last time he toured the UAE in 2014 during Australia's 0-2 series defeat to Pakistan, Starc praised his relentless efforts in the first Test.
"He bowled so patiently, it's what he's done for such a long time for Australia," Starc said of his pace partner.
"He's bowled that persistent line and length and created pressure to take wickets. It's great to see him back in the team taking wickets.
"Just seeing a smile on his face, the enjoyment he's got from being back in the group, playing Test cricket for Australia again, it's great for everyone to see that.
"He's worked hard to get back here."
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
Pakistan Test squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez
Oct 7-11: First Test, drawn
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi