Siddle climbs up Aust pace pecking order

Peter Siddle has mixed feelings about Ryan Harris’ retirement.

On one hand, it robbed Australia’s Ashes squad of arguably their best bowler in English conditions and ended the playing career of a good friend.

On the other, it all but ensured Siddle’s 56-Test career would continue should the incumbent pace attack suffer form or fitness issues.

“It’s one of my best mates, so it’s not a bonus he’s retiring,” Siddle said.

“It’s disappointing to see him have to retire in the way he did.

“It was more forced upon him.

“But personally, being closer to that set-up … that is a positive.

“I’ve slipped up the pecking order a little bit.”

In the lead-up to the first Test, Michael Clarke identified Siddle as the pick of Australia’s bowlers in a tour game against Essex.

Clarke added that the Victorian was unplayable in the nets at Cardiff, where Australia lost the Ashes opener by 169 runs.

Siddle continues to make all the right noise and bowl the right balls as he presses for a Test recall, having been dropped twice in 2014 then cut from Cricket Australia’s contract list.

The 30-year-old is expected to be in the mix for the second Test, which starts on Thursday at Lord’s.

However, selectors Darren Lehmann and Rod Marsh are yet to tell Siddle where he sits in the pace pecking order.

“All I know is that they’re happy with what I’ve been doing,” he said.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of days, I can get a bit more word whether it’s positive or negative.”

Lehmann cited Siddle’s drop in pace as the main reason he was squeezed out of the XI last year in South Africa.

Siddle suggested he’d since redeveloped his bowling.

“I’m never going to bowl 145-150km/h again – that’s past,” he said.

“But what I’ve got now is a good skill set and being able to build pressure, a lot more tricks in the bag than I had in the past. That’s a big positive.”

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