With Australia’s pace attack obliterating New Zealand, Peter Siddle saw no way back into the XI. So at 35 and with 67 Tests to his credit, one of the national side’s fiercest toilers over more than a decade simply decided to call time.
After telling coach Justin Langer on Boxing Day, he announced it on Sunday. Siddle made his Test debut against India in 2008, his first delivery a bouncer which struck batsman Gautam Gambhir in the head. His maiden wicket was that of the great Sachin Tendulkar. The 220 scalps that followed for the Traralgon-born quick made for a total bettered by just a dozen Australians in more than 140 years. He earlier this month earned one last international call-up – to Australia’s extended squad for the second Test against New Zealand in Melbourne. He was training with the team as recently as Christmas Eve but was released back to Big Bash duties after selectors opted to go with James Pattinson in an XI which has so far proved comfortably superior to their opposition. Siddle was a key part of Australia’s pace attack as it transitioned from the shadow of Glenn McGrath to the current battery of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pattinson. “The young guys are amazing players, they’re killing it, so it’s only going to get harder for me,” he said on Sunday. “I’m very content with the career I’ve had. As a young kid I never thought I’d play one, let alone 67.” Siddle remains the last of nine Australian men to take a Test hat-trick, famously achieving the feat on his 26th birthday at the Gabba during the 2010-11 Ashes and after battling his way back into the side following a back stress fracture . The Victorian was a mainstay of Australia’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash of England in 2013-14, bowling with consummate accuracy. He still played a role in retaining the Ashes this year in England, taking seven wickets in three Tests, but almost called it quits after the final match at the Oval. “JL (coach Justin Langer), Painey (captain Tim Paine) and I chatted about it early on in the Ashes series, that there was a possibility of retiring,” Siddle said. “I was pretty content to do it over there but there was that small little hope that I might get a chance in Oz in front of family and friends. “I still love the game, http://footballandcricketonline.website2.me/blog/gautam-gambhir-baby I still love playing but I’m only getting older.” His departure also ends Siddle’s international white-ball career, where he played 20 ODIs and two T20s for Australia. “The year after I retired from playing, Matty Hayden and Ricky Ponting were raving about this guy called Peter Siddle,” Langer said. “If it came from them, you knew it was right and so it proved throughout his brilliant international career. “He has given his heart and soul to the Australian team and the game of cricket.” Siddle will play out the Sheffield Shield season for Victoria and continue in the BBL with the Adelaide Strikers. He will also return to England next year to play county cricket with Essex. Siddle will look to add to his 603 first-class wickets at an average of 27.