BBL heroics could deliver stunning reward for Siddle
PETER Siddle is forcing selectors to sit up and take notice, with a Test recall no longer a fanciful dream according to champion former Australian captain Allan Border.
Siddle hasn't been seen in the international arena since 2016 - when he slipped out of the Test after suffering a back injury in the opening Test of the summer against South Africa.
He never regained his place, with the likes of Jackson Bird leapfrogging him in the pecking order while the return of Pat Cummins from injury allowed Australia to lock in its first-choice pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cummins.
Coach Darren Lehmann has made no secret of his desire to have an attack bolstered by quicks who pushed the 140km/h mark - and Siddle's place was often put under pressure because of his inability to hit those marks.
However after a summer in which he reinvented himself as a Twenty20 gun and finished the Big Bash as the tournament's premier quick having led the Adelaide Strikers to a maiden title, Siddle is primed to revive his Test career according to Border.
Finishing the tournament with 11 wickets and the best economy of any fast bowler (5.95), Siddle dominated Sunday's final by taking 3-17 from four overs.
"I've been very impressed," Border told Fox Sports' The Splash podcast on Tuesday.
"I would've thought Peter Siddle, bowling the pace he bowls, his style didn't really have all the toys that the bowlers have these days - as far as slower balls and variations - and I thought he might get clattered around a little bit.
"But he was a real surprise packet. And I was impressed with his pace, actually - he got his pace through to the 140s at times and he had some good variation.
"He was one of the picks of the year."
While Australia's squad for the four-Test tour of South Africa has already been picked, Border believes Siddle's number could be on Trevor Hohns' speed dial in the event of an injury to one of the frontline quicks.
"Definitely - he'd be there just in the selectors' back pocket," Border continued.
"They'd be watching closely and if anyone goes down with any sort of injury, Sidds would be an ideal replacement.
"You know what you're going to get. He's going to bowl good solid lines and lengths, his pace looks as though it's come back and you know he's a real goer.
"On those wickets in South Africa that do offer a little bit to the seam bowlers at times, he could be absolutely perfect for those conditions.
"Certainly I wouldn't discount him from being picked - the horse for the course. He would bowl well in those conditions."
Siddle, meanwhile, has inked a short-term deal to join English county champions Essex, making himself available for their first five games.
He's been picked up as much because of his leadership and ability to teach the team's young quicks - role former Test paceman Trent Copeland believes he's perfectly suited to.
"He's such a great team man - every time I was in a dressing room with him, he was one of the guys that was so inclusive," Copeland told Fox Sports' Bill and Boz.
"There's no doubt he's had a great impact on that (Adelaide Strikers) dressing room."
One further hurdle would be the continued impressive form of South Australian star Chadd Sayers, who was a controversial omission for young West Australian tearaway Jhye Richardson in the 15-man squad.
Sayers has been the best-performed paceman in domestic cricket in recent seasons and has come close to a Test call-up on occasions in the past 12 months without actually earning a baggy green.
Border believes Sayers would also be a success in South Africa, but has also backed the crafty right-armer to wreak havoc on England in next year's Ashes - likening the 30-year-old to Ashes great Terry Alderman should already be pencilled in to dominate on the seaming English decks.
"Chadd's one of those guys I'd keep my eye on because he could do a good job in South Africa if called on to do that but also in the Ashes next year," Border added.
"I see him as a Terry Alderman type, that was hugely successful in England on a couple of Ashes occasions. He was brilliant.
"I think (Sayers) could do that sort of role: not blisteringly quick but swings the ball and stands the seam up and just skidding sort of deliveries.
"He could do very well in England. I'd be definitely pencilling him in for a potential Ashes spot, depending on how things roll on over the next 12-18 months."