Sid Vicious is back! County batsmen beware … Aussie nemesis Peter Siddle is 36, but he’s ready for another title with Essex
- Essex celebrated their 2019 title win in Taunton with a cardboard Siddle
- The 36-year-old fast bowler has been fired for a new title payout at Essex
- He retired from international cricket after Australia retained the Ashes in 2019
Peter Siddle smiles as he reminisces about his unusual and remote role in the celebrations that followed Essex’s victory on the last day of the County Championship’s previous County Championship in 2019.
“The boys had a cardboard cutout of mine and it was funny to see them running around Taunton on TV,” says the Australian fast bowler. ‘I couldn’t be there, but they still made me feel like a part of it. They made me feel at home. ‘
After their title decider against Somerset, it was Essex’s way of recognizing the role Siddle had played in helping them become the dominant red ball power of domestic cricket.
Australia’s fast bowler Peter Siddle has been fired for another title attack with Essex
Now he is back in Chelmsford, at the age of 36, to continue a relationship with England that began with his Ashes debut in 2009 and culminated internationally with his very real presence in celebrations that greeted Australia with keeping the urn in that same 2019 season. “I love coming here,” Siddle said ahead of his first appearance of the season against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Even as a young child, it was a dream to play county cricket.
‘I followed the Australian guys who played here and I like to play four-day cricket, especially in English conditions. They suit my game and I love having the Dukes ball in my hand and bowling these fields. It’s been a great experience. ‘
In many ways he is an unlikely ally of English cricket. Few sum up the aggression of the Australian Ashes more than ‘Sid Vicious’, not least when he took Matt Prior out in Perth so many times in 2010 that he offered him outside.
Essex celebrates their 2019 title win in Taunton with a cardboard cutout Siddle (left)
But this cruelty-free vegan who, it was once said, eats up to 20 bananas a day – ‘that was always a bit of a joke, some days I might have 10, others none at all’ – has always been a very different character from the field. .
This is evidenced by his close friendship with the Englishman, who is the antithesis of Siddle’s persona on the field, Essex teammate Sir Alastair Cook.
“We spend a lot of time together,” says Siddle. ‘It was a nightmare to play against him in 2010-11. We just couldn’t get him out. He is unbelievable. If I had to pick someone to play with internationally, he would definitely be there. ‘
But it’s two other veterans who are dominating Siddle’s thoughts as he looks ahead to an Ashes series set to play without Cook this year. He’s well placed to judge whether Jimmy Anderson, 38, and Stuart Broad, 34, can still make an impact in Australia.
Siddle will continue a relationship with England that began with his Ashes debut in 2009
“Jimmy proves that age doesn’t matter,” says Siddle. ‘England has taken care of him and he sets a good example of what can be achieved.
‘Why wouldn’t he and Broady play in the Ashes? They will be there one hundred percent. I know England want extra speed in their attack this time, but if you look at the bowlers in Australia over the years, there aren’t many fasties.
Yes, there have been Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson over the years, but also many like me. Look at Glenn McGrath. It wasn’t exactly fast, but it wasn’t too bad.
‘You need different types of bowlers. If England picks the right side, you have a chance. I think your men will take on a tough challenge. ‘
It will be an Ashes without Siddle, who retired from international cricket after that Ashes Test at the Oval two years ago. But he’s just as passionate about top-notch cricket as ever when he’s up for Essex’s challenge for more red ball honor.
Siddle withdrew from international cricket after Australia retained the Ashes in 2019
“I’m probably fitter than ever,” he tells Sportsmail. ‘I can take care of myself and control what is happening much more than with international cricket. The body will judge how long I have left, but right now I feel really good. There aren’t many fast bowlers at my age, so why not enjoy it while it lasts? Who knows, there may be some good years left in me. ‘
And the archetypal Australian with one foot in the English camp had a measured response when asked to predict this winter’s Ashes result.
“It’s going to be an incredible run as England want to hit back, and Jimmy and Broady will risk everything to end with a win. I’m going 3-1 Australia. ‘
Spoken like a true English cricket-loving Australian.