Through Australian cricket’s re-build under Michael Clarke, Peter Siddle has been the cornerstone of the bowling attack. Now the senior partner in an emerging pace brigade, Siddle has zeroed in on the old enemy England and winning back the Ashes urn on enemy soil.
What would you say your role is? The enforcer in the pace attack?
Yeah pretty much. Go over there and stick it up the Poms. Haha. That’s what it’s all about. That’s pretty much all we think about. We just want to go over there and give it to them and hopefully win test matches. That’s why we play for Australia.
England has got a good top order but Australia has a very good, emerging pace battery. Do you feel like you can make inroads against them?
Yeah for sure and that’s the thing. Yes they’ve got a good top order but Compton’s only a fresh player in their side. So opening up if we can obviously crack it open early and get stuck into some of those other players before the ball gets too old it does put a lot of pressure on them. So he’s probably one that we will try and put a lot of pressure on and target.
I guess the bowling attack is only as strong as the depth in the ranks?
Absolutely. And that drives us. With our bowling attack, there’s a lot of other guys that could have been selected and it would have been just as strong so I guess that’s the exciting thing about Australian cricket right now. With the fast bowlers on hand there’s plenty of blokes that can step up when needed.
Is Alistair Cook the big wicket in the England team?
Yeah you’d have to say so. In the last series he played against us he dominated and since then he’s dominated in most series. So he is going to be the big wicket. Hopefully the captaincy does hinder on him a little bit but there’s a lot of good wickets in there. Pietersen. Trott. You’ve got Bell who has been performing well and obviously Prior has been making runs as well.
They say if you can take down the captain that goes a long way to denting a side’s confidence. Any weight to that?
Yeah and obviously with Compton opening up with him, if you can whack those two quite quickly it will help. Then if you get stuck into some of those other players it does build a lot of pressure. It’s going to be no different here. That’s the plan. Early wickets is the key. Get the early wickets and try and run through them as quick as we can.
I guess the way world cricket is these days there’s plenty of knowledge about opposition teams so as bowlers you can be quite thorough in your planning?
Yeah it is a strong line-up but it’s one that we’ve played against a lot now so we’ve had a lot of chances to have a look at them and play against them so its not as though we’re going to be rocking up without much experience.
You’re going to be hammered by the critics between now and arriving in England. It’s already started and it will only get worse when you get there. What do you think about that?
I’m not too fussed about it. I love reading all that stuff. I don’t take anything to heart so it doesn’t worry me too much. It sort of brings a smirk to my face and I always like it when I go out there or the team goes out there and performs well and proves them wrong. That’s what we’re all about. We’re a strong side and we want to let our actions do the talking when we get over there. We want to prove everyone wrong and show everyone what a force we are at international cricket.
Is there a genuine belief in the squad that it’s better than what it showed in India?
Yes we are and I think that’s what it comes down to. Three months earlier we put it to the number one team in the world and just fell short. We were close to replacing them at the top at one stage. So those things go missing a little bit. English conditions are going to be more similar to Australia than they are to India. That’s the thing that people have to remember. We’re not going to unfamiliar conditions in England. They’re conditions that we play a lot of cricket in back home. They’re pretty similar so we’ll be looking to turn the tables on that Indian result.
It’s going to be your third Ashes campaign. What does it mean to you to play against England?
It means a lot and the thing is I’ve lost two now. That’s pretty rare for an Australian cricketer to be a part of. It’s something that I want to turn around. I want to be a part of an Ashes series win and there’s no better time to start than in English conditions. So that’s our goal going over there. Win enough test matches to win the series. That’s all we’re looking for.
Was it a childhood dream to play an Ashes test?
Yeah it was. You grow up dreaming of wearing the baggy green and playing in an Ashes series. If you’re into your cricket they’re the two biggest things you think about as a kid. To get the opportunity once again to be a part of it is quite exciting. But the exciting times that go with an Ashes series are gone now. It’s about winning and being a part of a winning Ashes series. That’s what it’s all about.
You’ve even taken a test hat-trick, in an Ashes series. And on your birthday. That must rank up there with all-time personal highlights?
Yeah that’s obviously a big highlight and it’s probably something I’ll look back on more when I’m retired and talk about my cricket. I think then I’ll enjoy it a bit more. But at the moment it’s all about team success. And I’d give up that hat-trick any day to win an Ashes series. Don’t worry about that. And that’s going to be the plan. That’s what we want. Individual stuff happens to bring about the success of test wins. But test wins are what we want. We want test wins to bring that Ashes urn home.
You hit Stuart Broad flush on the foot. It went to the third umpire. Depending on who you ask, some say there was doubt. So, was it out?
Broad was definitely out. On the full. If it had of bounced it might have been a bit different. But on the full it couldn’t be anything but out!