An entire generation of players was left behind as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ruled men’s tennis, and former Test fast bowler Peter Siddle believes a similar phenomenon has occurred in Australian cricket, where the country’s own ‘big three’ reign supreme ruled.
Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins have had a stranglehold on Australia’s squad in all three formats when fit, but as the changing of the guard approaches, Siddle says timing and luck will be key to seize the opportunity to become a top player. mainstay of the national side.
Siddle said consistent quicks at state level, including Sean Abbott (31), Joel Paris (30) and Mark Steketee (29), could all count themselves unfortunate not to have played Test cricket but still had strong claims, but it was him agree with widespread sentiments that West Australian duo Jhye Richardson and Lance Morris were the obvious two successors waiting in the wings.
“It’s always difficult… when you have a core group of guys at the top for a long time, you skip a generation,” Siddle said.
“We’re probably looking at it as who’s next, what’s coming – WA have probably been given the key two if they stay fit and stay on the park, Jhye Richardson and Lance Morris have dominated state cricket.”
Cummins currently captains the ODI and Test squads and at 30 still has many years of cricket left in him
Hazlewood (left, 32) and Starc (right, 33) are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning
Peter Siddle is a former Australian fast bowler and he has named the likely replacements for Australia’s big three when they retire
Richardson, 27, has endured a miserable run with injury including a long-term hamstring problem and a shoulder injury while bowling in a state second XI match last month, but Siddle said his consistently strong performances when fit have been there there was no doubt that he could still perform at international level.
“The good thing is he knows he actually did it, it wasn’t like he was a young boy who hasn’t played much cricket and is an unknown quantity,” Siddle said.
‘With the young lads who haven’t done it yet, it’s always a guessing game: can they hold on for a Test or a big Sheffield Shield match? Those kind of things.
“Jhye’s ceiling is very high in terms of what he can do at his best, so if he can come back he can play a key role in Australian cricket.”
Repeated injuries have limited Jhye Richardson to just three of Australia’s last 40 Test matches since his impressive debut in 2019
The Redbacks’ Jordan Buckingham is a promising young fast bowler, while Wes Agar could follow his brother Ashton into the Australian squad
Lance Morris has already been given the opportunity to tour with the Australian squad and could be the next taxi driver
Siddle also named South Australian trio Spencer Johnson, Jordan Buckingham and Wes Agar as potential Test quality quicks, while giving a big wrap to his Vic teammates Will Sutherland and Mitch Perry.
“(Perry) had an experience with Australia A recently and did really well, and (Sutherland) has been there too,” he said.
When Siddle returned to Victoria after a three-season spell in Tasmania, he said he was content to play less cricket and began to focus on coaching his young teammates.
He said learning the fresh perspectives of Tassie coaches Ali de Winter and then Jeff Vaughan, along with current Victorian assistants Adam Griffith and Ben Rohrer, had given him important breadth before moving into coaching full-time.
With his 39th birthday approaching next month, the reliably pacey player will play his 220th first-class match when Victoria meets Tasmania at the CitiPower Center on Sunday.
Siddle will replace Scott Boland after the Test quick was again reassured by Cricket Australia.
He needs just seven dismissals to reach 750 career wickets in the longer format, a milestone rarely achieved by modern fast bowlers.
Will Sutherland (right) has made a name for himself playing for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield alongside Siddle
Victoria’s Mitch Perry has also benefited from Siddle’s experience in the Victorian Shield squad
‘At the moment I actually only play when Scotty is resting. Obviously the Australian selectors and stuff are checking that, so if he’s resting I’ll come in. That’s kind of how it works, so I just play it by ear and make sure I’m ready to go,” he said.
“It was a lot of fun to work with some of those younger guys… it made it exciting to get another year of playing, and keeping that around definitely keeps me motivated.
‘Sutherland, Perry and (Fergus) O’Neill… which I had been involved with a little bit before I left, but to see them improve over the last few years and where they are now, it’s exciting to see.
“Hopefully we see them representing Australia one day, that would be great.
‘I enjoy playing with those younger boys, I think it gives me a bit of energy myself, the youthful enthusiasm of those boys ensures that I can get started.’
Siddle said it was far more likely his playing career would end at Victoria than in England, where he took an impressive 16 wickets playing for Somerset this season at the age of 24.
“I think I’m pretty happy with how much cricket I played there. “If there’s a period where they need a replacement for a month or four or five games while someone is on international duty or something, then I might be happy to come in and fill the void,” he said.
“But I’m happy with playing a little less cricket but still being around and still being able to nurture some of these young lads and play a part in their development and that gives me the opportunity to do the best of both worlds.’