Peter Siddle: Essex sign Australia paceman for first five Championship games

Australia's Peter Siddle looks on after a dropped catch against South Africa in 2016
Peter Siddle is likely to make his Essex debut at Yorkshire on 13 April, with his stay set to end after 14 May

County champions Essex have signed Australia paceman Peter Siddle for the first five games of the 2018 Championship season.

The 33-year-old, who has 62 Test caps for his country, is set to make his bow in their Division One opener in April.

He has previous four-day experience in England with Nottinghamshire, where he left in March because of a back injury.

"I've enjoyed my previous experiences of county cricket and can't wait to get under way at Chelmsford," Siddle said.

"I have heard very good things about the club, and the quality of the playing squad, and look forward to contributing strongly towards the title defence during the first few weeks of the season."

Prior to this winter, Siddle had played in every Ashes series since 2006-07, though he has not represented Australia at Test level since November 2016.

He has also played 17 one-day and two T20 internationals and on Sunday took 3-17 to help Adelaide Strikers win the Big Bash League final.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath told the club website: "He recently played in one of the best international teams around, and we are looking forward to picking his brains and seeing what else we can produce as a bowling unit with his help."

Siddle had been set to join the county for T20 matches in 2012, but the fast bowler was forced to withdraw with lower back soreness.

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