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The Final Word: Peter Siddle eyeing one last crack at Ashes glory in England

by Wisden Staff 6 minute watch

Essex fast bowler Peter Siddle believes he can still force his way into Australia’s squad for this year’s Ashes.

Siddle’s last Test appearance came against Pakistan in the UAE last October, and he was part of Australia’s Test squad during the home season without ever making the playing XI.

The 34-year-old, who has been a part of Australia’s last three Test tours of England, is currently turning out for Essex and believes that wickets for the county side will ensure that he remains in the frame for selection for the five-match series which begins in August. In Essex’s encounter with Surrey last week, Siddle returned figures of 6-104 in the first innings.

“Personally, it’s just about staying fit first and foremost and being able to get out on the park and perform,” Siddle told The Final Word at The Oval. “Obviously, finishing the Shield final in Australia well, and starting off well here again – which will be my only first-class game for a little bit as we go into the one-dayers – I’m feeling good and the body’s good.

“The good thing about myself over the last couple of years is that I haven’t worried too much about selection and where I’m at and what can come. All I’ve worried about is getting out on the park, enjoying cricket wherever I’m playing, whether it’s in Australia [playing] club cricket or over in England – and just enjoying the moment.

“That’s all I can do – just keep putting the stats on the board. The reason I got selected for the UAE was because of what I did here in England for Essex last summer, so I’ve just got to continue to do that and hopefully that’s enough for me to get in that squad.”

Siddle also claimed that his troubles with injury – the seamer sustained a back injury after Australia’s first Test against South Africa in November 2016, having suffered a stress fracture in February of that same year – may have actually helped prolong his career.

“That last injury probably came at just the right time,” he said. “If it had been 12-18 months down the track, there probably would have been a bit of pressure on me from all the teams around to retire there and not continue.

“It came in my early thirties, which gave me the opportunity for rehab and to get back out on the park and freshen up the body. I’ve had a long career of banging away on hard flat wickets. [The break] gave me time to freshen up mentally, but especially physically – and I’m definitely seeing the benefits now where I’ve pretty much gone 18 months since that injury being able to play continually back home and overseas, and be in the frame of mind for another Test series.”

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