Peter Siddle is set to add another rare milestone to his ever-growing resume this evening when he plays the 200th first-class match of his decorated career.
More than two years since retiring from international cricket, Siddle continues to buck the trend of the modern game by playing red-ball cricket long after his days at the highest level are over.
siddle’s Somerset will take on Surrey at The Oval in London tonight (AEST), which will be his 200th first-class game having made his debut for Victoria in late 2005.
Somerset is Siddle’s fourth English county side after previous stints at Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Essex, and 2022 is his sixth season of county cricket.
That’s in addition to 73 Sheffield Shield matches with Victoria and Tasmania and 67 Tests for Australia.
Reliable first-class statistics can be difficult to track down, but it is believed Siddle will be the first Australian fast bowler to reach the milestone of 200 first-class games since Michael Kasprowicz in 2004.
The 37-year-old Siddle recently credited his vegan diet, which he adopted a decade ago, for helping him prolong his career where other fast bowlers struggle to play into their late thirties.
“The last five years have probably been my most successful in terms of staying on the park and playing consistently well,” Siddle told Somerset Live.
“I have had very few injuries, touchwood, and hopefully that remains the case. I look after myself off the field, which undoubtedly helps.
“I have been a vegan for more than 10 years now and it definitely works for me. Not many fast bowlers, particularly in Australia, play until my age.
“The diet and looking after my body in general has been a big part of that. As a young player, I just enjoyed myself and had fun, but then I wanted to ensure I played the game I love for as long as possible.
“I am still involved in four-day cricket, which a lot of players give up as they get older in favor of the shorter formats and I will be looking to play as many games as possible for Somerset.”
While players in the early part of the 20th century churned through hundreds of first-class games – Wilfried Rhodes holds the all-time record of 1110 matches – the proliferation of international cricket and T20 franchise competitions means playing hundreds of first-class matches is a rare feat in the modern era, particularly for a fast bowler.
English duo Jimmy Anderson (270 matches) and Stuart Broad (242) and Irishman Tim Murtagh (249) are still playing at county level, but Australia’s modern fast-bowling greats were unable to reach the 200-game mark.
Test quicks like Glenn McGrath (189), Jason Gillespie (189) and Andy Bichel (186) fell short despite playing county and Shield cricket as well as at international level, while Australian domestic journeymen like Michael Hogan (174), Steve Magoffin (160 ) and Trent Copeland (111) also can’t match Siddle’s record.
Siddle took 19 wickets at 23 for Tasmania last Sheffield Shield season and told cricket.com.au last November that he was negotiating with the Tigers about signing a new contract.
While he’s conceded the end of his career is nigh, he plans to continue playing until his body and mind are no longer willing.
“I’d like to go around and see if in the next (few years) we can contend for some trophies (with Tasmania),” he said.
“I know that I can’t keep playing forever because there are other guys that do need to play and do need to learn and get their opportunities.
“But if I’m still performing then there’s no reason just to walk away and give someone else a spot for no reason.”
Peter Siddle – First-class career
W: 199 | Wickets: 681 | Bird: 26.63 | BBI: 8-54 | BBM: 9-77 | 5WI: 26 | SR: 56.3 | Econ: 2.83
Australians in 2022 County Championship
Essex: Mark Steketee
Glamorgan: Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser
Gloucestershire: marcus harris
Kent: jackson bird
Middlesex: Peter Handscomb
Northamptonshire: Matt Kelly
Nottinghamshire: James Pattinson
Somerset: Matt Renshaw, Peter Siddle
Sussex: Josh Philippe
Warwickshire: Nathan McAndrew