Peter Siddle could earn a shock recall for Australia after Justin Langer revealed he was an option to replace injured quick Josh Hazlewood for the Boxing Day Test.
- Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test and faces a fight to be ready for the Sydney Test
- Peter Siddle was named by coach Justin Langer as a possible replacement
- Siddle has taken 18 wickets at an average of 19.77 in the Sheffield Shield this season
The Aussies are searching for at least one extra quick in Melbourne, with Hazlewood battling to be fit for the Sydney Test next month.
Australia already has James Pattinson and Michael Neser in their 13-man squad, with the former the favourite to replace Hazlewood.
But Australia may still want extra cover in their squad for their quicks in Melbourne.
And if that is the case, Siddle appears in the box seat to be brought into the squad after his Test career looked likely to be over after the Ashes.
“We’ve started to think about [a squad replacement], the obvious one would be Peter Siddle actually,” Langer said.
“He did a really good job in the Ashes, he’s bowling very well for Victoria and it’s at the MCG where he’s played a lot of cricket.
Siddle has taken 12 wickets at 15.16 in three Shield matches at the MCG this summer.
The 35-year-old became a forgotten man after the Ashes but said last month he was refusing to give up hope on adding to his 67 Tests.
Siddle took seven wickets in three matches during the Ashes series, at an average of 42.14.
Selectors face an interesting month ahead in terms of their bowlers’ workloads.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have been forced to shoulder the brunt of the work in extreme temperatures in Perth.
There is just a four-day turnaround between Melbourne and Sydney, which are both expected to be batting wickets, meaning cover could be needed.
Adding to the problem is Australia’s lack of an allrounder.
Mitch Marsh will return to the Big Bash this week but is still up to a fortnight from bowling after he broke his hand punching a wall, while Cameron Green is also not yet bowling.
“We’ll have a look at the end of this Test how many overs the boys bowled, how long we were in there for the second innings,” Langer said.
“Without doubt, Patto and Michael Neser, they’ll be in the squad 100 per cent and we’ll look whether we replace Josh with another fast bowler.
“There are a few injuries and there’s a great opportunity in Australian cricket for someone to put their hand up and knock really hard on the door to fill that [allrounder] gap.
“There’s a lot of talk about allrounders but the truth is, whether it’s a club side, T20 side, Shield side, they all want an allrounder but there aren’t many of them around.”
There are no more domestic four-day Sheffield Shield matches until February as red-ball cricket takes a break for the Big Bash.