Siddle defends vegetarian diet from criticism

DAVID BENIUK
Last updated 15:29 12/12/2012
Peter Siddle
Getty Images
BOWLING MACHINE: An exhausted Peter Siddle on his haunches on day five of the second test against South Africa in Adelaide. Siddle bowled 63.5 overs during the match.

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Peter Siddle admits the constant commentary on his vegetarian diet is becoming a little unappetising.

Commentators and former players, including Dennis Lillee, have questioned his decision to give up meat, some wondering if it contributed to him pulling out of the series-deciding test in Perth against South Africa.

But Siddle says he's had no second thoughts about his diet, even after his exhaustion following 63.5 overs following James Pattinson's injury in the drawn Adelaide test.

"I struggled (before) to bowl over 50 overs so, to bowl 64, I think that's an improvement," he told reporters at Bellerive ahead of Australia's first Test against Sri Lanka beginning on Friday.

"So I'm probably in a better place than I ever was.

"For people to say that's the problem and that's the reason why (I withdrew), they're the ones kidding themselves.

"They're not the ones out there having to do it and having to go through it.

"To still be bowling 140 Ks in my 64th over at the end of the fifth day in a test match, that probably shows the improvements."

The 28-year-old has a point. Three of his four heaviest test bowling workloads since his debut in 2008 have been this year.

Siddle says the physical drain he experienced after bowling himself to a near standstill in Adelaide was a first for him.

What followed was a ramped-up recovery program of extra ice baths, hydration and massage.

A bowl in the nets convinced him he couldn't risk playing, but it was a hamstring twinge rather than fatigue that ultimately forced the call.

"I made the decision so of course I'm going to be comfortable with it," he said.

"If I wasn't comfortable with it, I could have lied to the staff and just gone out there and played.

"You never want to miss a test match but you've got to think of the greater picture and that was becoming the No 1 test team.

"If I had have gone out there and got injured, it would have been selfish."

Siddle is back to lead the Australian attack in the first test against the Lankans in Hobart, but isn't expecting the commentary on his food choices to go away.

"It is a little bit weird," he said.

"That's their opinion. I think everyone's entitled to an opinion and it's going to happen."

Peter Siddle top test workloads:

63.5 overs - v South Africa, Adelaide, 2012

54.5 - v South Africa, Sydney, 200953 - v South Africa, Brisbane, 2012

48 - v West Indies, Bridgetown, 2012

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48 - v South Africa, Melbourne, 2008

46 - v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2009

45 - v England, Cardiff, 2009

42 - v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2011

- AAP

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