Peter Siddle admits he’s still playing for his Australia place, despite recently becoming the 15th bowler in his country’s history to 200 Test wickets.

The Nottinghamshire bound paceman has been in-and-out of his baggy green in recent times having been called upon for the final match only in each of the recent series, against England and New Zealand.                      

Siddle responded well on each occasion and is, therefore, expected to be a starter when the home series against the West Indies gets underway in Hobart on Thursday.

The 31-year-old took 6-67 as Australia closed the Investec Ashes with a consolation victory at the Kia Oval.

His next Test appearance came in the pink ball series finale against New Zealand in Adelaide, where the Victorian again emerged with credit having reached the 200 wicket milestone en-route to match figures of 2-87 from 31 overs.

The series clincher against the Black Caps came at a time of personal hardship for Siddle who lost his grandmother during the game.

The former Lancashire man, who also played through the pain of a back spasm, had the glory of striking the winning runs in a three wicket win.

Having since rested-up the injury, he is expected to retain the place in the side that came available following the retirement of Mitchell Johnson, but admits that - beyond that - his position in the 11 remains far from secure.

"It was nice getting a bit of a rest and getting back (home) - it was nice finishing the Test match early," he said. "But the back is good. It has pulled up well.

"Essentially I am playing for my place. Being out of the side for so long and having a couple of games here and there makes you feel like that.

"At the moment it's just taking it game by game, which is what I was doing when I wasn't playing. Just making sure I prepare well and being ready to go and get out on the field and perform well.

"At the moment that's all it's about, just performing well this week in preparation, getting everything right, getting the body right and being ready to go on game day.

"The West Indies are going to be a lot more competitive in the Test-match arena, so it's about getting through this first game and seeing where we end up after this."

Sandwiched between his two most recent Test appearances, Siddle penned a two year contract with Nottinghamshire, sealing a return to the county with which he took 37 wickets in 11 matches in 2014.

The virtues of a renowned line-and-lenghter in English conditions are long established, making it surprising that Siddle wasn’t selected earlier in the recent Ashes series. 

In the international game around the world, meanwhile, particularly in Australia, selectors are looking increasingly favourably on 90-mile-an-hour merchants such as Johnson (until his recent retirement), James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner.

Nathan Coulter-Nile, the next cab off the rank in terms of tearaway quicks, has earned a call-up for the West Indies opener as a replacement for the injured Starc.

If a full deck of rapid speedsters are fit in the future, Siddle’s place in the side will likely come under insreased scrutiny.

As an 80-mile-an-hour Aussie, the victorian vegan looks no further than the second-leading wicket taker in his country’s history - former Middlesex, Worcestershire and New South Wales metronome Glenn McGrath - for inspiration.

McGrath, who retired with 563 wickets at 21.64 having helped secure an Ashes whitewash in 2006/07, has been forthcoming with advice for his successor.

"Glenn McGrath is probably the perfect example,” said Siddle.

"He's been our greatest fast bowler and he struggled to touch that (140kph) once in his career.

"Look at his performances, he hasn't got that speed, it's about skill and going on the conditions.

 "That's a good example to go by. I spoke to him a lot, trying to build my game on him, how he was consistent, his patience and being able to work batsmen over.

"I think that's what I've shown over the last little bit, that's what I can do.

"I think it was a good example in Adelaide how the team as a bowling unit did that against someone like Kane Williamson who they thought wouldn't crack under the pressure of building pressure and patience.

"We got him cheap both innings doing that and he's one of the class players in the Test arena. I think it'll work and it's shown it can work."

If Siddle, who celebrated his 31st birthday on the 25th of last month, advances through his thirties in a similar vein to his mentor, the news is sure be good for Australia, Victoria and Nottinghamshire.


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