Potchefstroom (South Africa), Feb.19 (ANI): Fast bowler Peter Siddle's mates still find it hard to believe he gets to have lunch with Ricky Ponting and all those other high falutin' Australia stars.
Siddle himself still finds it hard to believe.
"Playing with blokes like Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey - I've grown up idolising those blokes, watching them play and just thinking one day I might get to play for Australia," Fox Sports quoted him, as saying.
"To be playing at a young sort of age and to be playing with those blokes who I've watched, it's hard to take in sometimes. You are hanging around with Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, having lunch with those blokes. You tell your mates back home and they think it's unbelievable," he said.
The hard-toiling quick debuted in India, impressing everybody with his ability to run in and bowl a good honest line with impressive pace.
Back home, things started to come a little undone in the first Test against South Africa in Perth. He couldn't get the breakthrough the side needed and he started to bleed runs. He began to look out of his depth and, worse, he began to believe he was.
"I didn't really know what I wanted to do out there," he conceded. "I just went out there and just tried to bowl fast.
"It was a fast wicket but I tried to bowl fast and didn't really concentrate on the areas and things that I've done in previous times to get where I was.I didn't really know what was going on I don't think. I was in a weird position. I didn't know how to cope with going for a fair few runs and wickets weren't coming. It was a tough time, but I spoke to a few people after that match and just worked on a few things in the nets," Siddle said.
When Ben Hilfenhaus was brought into the squad on the eve of the second Test, Siddle started to think his place was under threat.
It wasn't, but his increased effort in the nets at Melbourne had some of the senior batsman whispering.
Matthew Hayden was one who was highly impressed by the Victorian and his "heavy ball".
Siddle carried the net form into the middle.
"I went out with a different plan in the next two Tests and it worked for me," the bowler said.
"I went for less runs, bowled a lot tighter. I was a lot more patient and it paid off."
By his fourth Test in Sydney, he was standing at the top of his mark with a brand new ball in his hand. Brett Lee was under the knife and Ponting had called on Siddle to open the bowling.
His first five-wicket haul and his first taste of victory in a Test match came in that game, and Siddle is hoping to carry the momentum from Sydney into the return half of the South Africa tour. (ANI)