Siddle: Give Maxwell first crack against England

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Glenn Maxwell

Melbourne, November 13: Veteran Australian bowler Peter Siddle backed Glenn Maxwell for the number six spot against England, believing the enigmatic batsman deserves first crack in the Ashes series.

Maxwell, 29, played in the drawn Test series with Bangladesh in August and September but the entertaining Victorian is no certainty to retain his spot in the line-up for the opening Ashes showdown in Brisbane starting November 23.

A host of names are vying for the role in Steve Smith's side, with Hilton Cartwright – who was due in at six in the second Test against Bangladesh as Maxwell was elevated to five – also being considered along with Daniel Hughes.

It is one of the final pieces of Australia's Ashes selection puzzle and Siddle said Maxwell should have the chance to add to his seven Tests and 339 runs.

"It's been a tough one. I've spoken about it a lot," Siddle – who is still dreaming of an Aussie recall having not feature at international level since November last year – told Omnisport.

"I was lucky enough to play a lot with Shane Watson. We had the benefit of him being a good batter and a handy bowler too. We always had that all-round option.

"As a bowler, it does give you a bit of confidence knowing you have that back-up of an all-rounder.

"Whether it's a medium pacer or a spinner. It's the hard one. I know there's a lot for just a batter.

"If there's a batter there that can bowl a bit, I think my team-mate Glenn Maxwell is a good example. I know he hasn't bowled a lot in the times he's played Test cricket but he does give that option that he can hold up an end for a period of time. Get through a few overs before a new ball or a lunch break.

"As a team-mate, I think he's the man that's been in the side before and at least get first crack at it."

The wicketkeeping position is another that has sparked great debate as Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill battle it out for the gloves.

Wade stood behind the stumps against Bangladesh, however, his position is undecided, though Siddle endorsed his former Victorian team-mate for Ashes selection.

Siddle said: "I've played a lot with Wade and Nevill. I'll probably be a little bit biased that I've played more with Wade and he's one of my good mates.

"Just the way he goes about cricket. How aggressive he is and how much of a team man he is. Everything that he brings to the table, I think he trumps Nevill there.

"Batting and keeping, I think they're both very similar. Wade is just a player that I've loved playing with for Victoria and Australia. He reminds a lot of the way Brad Haddin went about his cricket. Those characteristics give him the edge at the moment."

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Monday, November 13, 2017, 10:00 [IST]
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