Reigning County Championship champions, Essex have secured the services of Australia fast-bowler Peter Siddle for the first five matches of the upcoming Specsavers County Championship season. The club confirmed the news on Monday (February 5).
The right-arm pacer, who has taken 211 Test wickets in 62 games, has not played for Australia since 2016. He recently impressed in the Big Bash League, playing an integral role to help Adelaide Strikers win the tournament for the first time.
Essex was targetting the 33-year old to add some experience to their young but talented bowling lineup which fired them to a remarkable Championship victory last season, their first since 1992.
Essex had won 10 of their 14 games, and the bowlers played a very crucial role in all the victories. 24-year old Jamie Porter had led the attack by taking a staggering 75 wickets while South African Kolpak off-spinner Simon Harmer had snapped up 72 scalps.
New Zealander Neil Wagner and Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir also made useful contributions as overseas players.
Anthony McGrath, the Essex head coach, expressed his excitement over the deal and is hopeful the Australian star would not only perform on the pitch but would also help the youngsters.
“Peter is someone with proven quality at the highest level. He is vastly experienced and is a player who won’t just deliver on the pitch but will help our younger bowlers as well,” McGrath said. “He recently played in one of the best International teams around, and we are looking forward to picking his brains and seeing what else we can produce as a bowling unit with his help.
“Darren Lehmann spoke glowingly about him as a person and a bowler when I spoke to him recently, so we are looking forward to him joining us and making a real impact in the opening weeks of the season,” he added.
Siddle’s international career is looking as good as over for the time being. With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins forming a formidable pace-trio, Siddle is unlikely to get a look-in.
In fact, the 33-year old is well out of frame, as the Australian selectors have zeroed in on the likes of Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers and Jhye Richardson as backup options.
Meanwhile, Siddle will be looking to impress for Essex in the upcoming season. The discarded Australia bowler is not new to playing in England, having plied his trade for Lancashire and Nottinghamshire in the past.
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