Aussie greats Shane Warne and Geoff Lawson have both questioned the decision to bring Peter Siddle back into Australia’s squad for the Test series against New Zealand.
Siddle's imposing form on his home deck at the MCG makes him a strong contender to replace the injured Josh Hazlewood for the second Test in Melbourne.
Australia are searching for at least one extra quick, with Hazlewood battling to be fit for the Sydney Test next month.
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Siddle has taken 12 wickets at 15.16 in three Shield matches at the MCG this summer, form which hasn't gone unnoticed by Australia coach Justin Langer.
"We've started to think about (a squad replacement for Hazlewood), 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."
However a number of Australian greats aren’t convinced.
Lawson has hit out at Langer’s call to bring back Siddle, suggesting there might be ulterior motives at play.
“They’ve had Pattinson there and Neser there with the group. I’m not sure why you’d be looking outside those two guys,” Lawson told Sky Sports Radio on Monday.
“You put them in the 14 for a start. I’m not sure why you’d be looking outside that, especially at someone who hasn’t taken that many wickets for Victoria in their last few Shield games.
“But Justin has his favourites and unfortunately, sometimes he plays them as well. That’s one of the problems with having the coach as a selector.”
Lawson believes Langer isn’t in a position to properly monitor the Shield form of bowlers around the country.
“I have to admit I always have a giggle when I keep reading the selection panel has picked, when it’s just two people,” Lawson said.
“There’s the coach, who obviously doesn’t watch state cricket, and Trevor Hohns. It’s not a selection panel at all. It’s two people and one of them’s not watching any state cricket, so it’s quite a limited view of the game.
“The (state) coaches are the guys who get spoken to and they’ve probably got their own agendas as well. They’re either trying to get their players into the Australian team or trying to keep them out so that their state team performs better.”
Warne also expressed surprise about Siddle’s recall, believing the Aussies missed the chance to give a young bowler some experience in the Test squad.
“Why you would even consider another bowler – other than Pattinson is beyond me,” Warne posted on Twitter on Sunday.
“I think he’s a gun. Very odd that Siddle has been added to the squad, a good bowler but had his time. Neser is a good first-class cricketer.
“I also think the Australian selectors missed a trick by not adding Riley Meredith to the squad for the Boxing Day year instead of Siddle. He’s a great young player and the experience around the test team would inspire him. Time to look forward not back.”
Some chat around who should replace Hazlewood. Why you would even consider another bowler - other than Pattinson is beyond me. I think he’s a gun. Very odd that Siddle has been added to the squad, a good bowler but had his time. Neser is a good 1st class cricketer @FoxCricket !— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 15, 2019
Ps I also think the Australian selectors missed a trick by not adding Riley Meredith to the squad for the Boxing Day year instead of Siddle. He’s a great young player and the experience around the test team would inspire him. Time to look forward not back @FoxCricket— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 15, 2019
Siddle backs himself in
Siddle admits he is bowling as well as ever and says he loves playing at the MCG.
"I don't know why, but it's always a venue I have bowled well at," the 35-year-old told RSN.
"Who doesn't love playing at the 'G'."
While he says it would be great to earn a recall to the international fold, Siddle's focus is on producing good performances and taking wickets.
"I think the good thing with me over the last few years is I've gone away from worrying about selection, I just try to play good cricket.
"I'm nearing the back end of my career. It's just about trying to put in good performances for whoever I play for. If that gets me selected, then I'm happy. If it doesn't, then as long as I'm playing good cricket, I'm happy also.
"We'll see what happens. If I get a phone call over the next couple of days, it would be good, it would be great."