Eager Siddle ready to seize opportunity

Victorian quick adamant he will be ready to go should injury strike one of Australia's frontline quicks

Long after his fellow Adelaide Strikers bowlers have left the nets, expect to see Peter Siddle continuing to charge in at training over the coming weeks.

While teammates at his new club have shifted their attention firmly to the upcoming KFC Big Bash League season, Siddle will be ensuring he's got the miles in his legs should a recall to Australia's side for the Magellan Ashes materialise.

The 62-Test veteran, who played an integral role in Australia's 2013-14 Ashes whitewash, acknowledges he's still behind a few in the fast-bowling pecking order, but is adamant he will be ready should injury strike one of Australia's frontline quicks.

"If needed at the back end of this series, the Melbourne and Sydney Test matches are two wickets that I've had a lot of success and I've performed well on," Siddle told this week.

"I'm still probably a little bit away from being in the side but it's nice to be able to be recognised that I might be able to get a chance. 

"I'm just about being ready and I think the body is in a good place. If the opportunity does come up, I'm fresh and I'm ready to go."

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Siddle hasn't been seen at international level since suffering a back injury during the Perth Test against South Africa in November last year, but has made a successful return for Victoria this summer.

While five wickets at 75 in four JLT Sheffield Shield games so far this summer are numbers short of his lofty standards, his 211 Test wickets at less than 30 will likely have more sway at the selection table.

The 33-year-old took some time to rediscover his touch with the red ball after returning from injury but feels a big haul is just around the corner.

"It was always going to be tough finding that rhythm and getting back into the long form of cricket," Siddle explained.

"But it has improved with each match that I've played. Each time I've gone out there, it's got better and better. 

"I'm feeling confident now that I'm not far away from having a good couple of innings, a good match where I'll get that breakthrough and have a good wicket haul. 

"If the chance does come, hopefully, that is in a Test match. 

"Everyone wants to be a part of (the Ashes). Fingers crossed that maybe at some point I'm going to play a part."

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Siddle's enthusiasm to resume his Test career is perhaps matched only by his desire to see Australia retain the urn. 

Their pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood – together with star off-spinner Nathan Lyon – have so far not only stayed fit but have all made telling contributions over the first two Tests.

"As a collective, they're getting the job done beautifully," said Siddle. "They're continually taking wickets, building pressure, and they've been outstanding."

But given the gruelling nature of fast bowling, it's rare for Australia to field the same attack for an entire Test summer, a fact Siddle is well aware of.

That 2013-14 Ashes triumph was the last time it happened, with the quartet of Siddle, Lyon, Mitchell Johson and Ryan Harris took 94 of the 100 England wickets to fall (Shane Watson, Steve Smith and a run-out accounted for the other six scalps).

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With that in mind, Siddle will have dual concerns ahead in the early weeks of BBL|07 in his first season with the Strikers having crossed from Melbourne Renegades over the winter.

"it's just about maintaining my workloads to an extent, still bowling and preparing for that longer form," said Siddle. 

"I can still try all my tricks and stuff over my spells in the nets at the moment. 

"But I'll probably just bowl for a bit longer than other people."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21