peter siddle and mitchell starc
Peter Siddle (L) and Mitchell Starc (Getty Images)

Australia pacer Mitchell Starc has been battling tightness in his left hamstring in the ongoing second Test against Pakistan that saw him bowl just seven of the 120 overs his team delivered in the second innings.

He was battling cramps in the first Test in Dubai as well where pickle juice kept him going. As a precaution, Australia have added Peter Siddle as a backup for Starc for the Pakistan T20 to be played next week.

Siddle has praised the 28-year-old for showing mental toughness and keeping himself available despite debilitating fitness issues. “He’s pretty quiet and a pretty strong character so when things have popped up, he tries to keep it pretty low-key,” Siddle was quoted as saying by Cricket.com.au. “He’s kept it pretty close to his chest. Obviously you know he’s struggling a little bit. To see him still fight and bowl when needed, I think it shows good character that he still wants to put in for the team and be out there for the boys.”

Starc’s fitness concerns mean Siddle might get a chance to feature in a limited overs international for the first time in around eight years. His last T20 appearance for Australia was back in 2010 and has just two matches against his name.

“[Coach Justin Langer] came to me yesterday in warm-up. It’s probably only been the last 12 months I’ve played an extended part of T20 but I got to go over to England and Canada. It was a nice little chat yesterday morning, so we’ll see how we go but there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge before then. I’m just enjoying being around the Australian cricket team, whatever format that is,” the 33-year-old said.