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Siddle talks up struggling Windies


In what must be music to Cricket Tasmania’s ears, Australian seamer Peter Siddle has backed the West Indies to fire in this week’s first Test in Hobart despite a disastrous tour start.

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The once mighty Windies’ embarrassing 10-wicket loss to a young Cricket Australia XI in Brisbane on Saturday added to fears over the future of Hobart as a Test venue.

A Fairfax report suggested less than 10,000 people over four days were predicted for the Bellerive Oval clash starting on Thursday – the first Hobart Test since 2012.

The Windies’ capitulation against a CA XI boasting six rookies and an average age of 21 was probably a worse case scenario for Hobart promoters ahead of the Test.

Especially after the Windies arrived Down Under not having won an overseas tour of note in 20 years.

But Siddle insisted he wasn’t reading too much into the tour match and was still wary of a Windies side now a shadow of the side that enjoyed a 15 year Test unbeaten run since 1980.

“I haven’t taken too much notice (of the result),” he said.

“The young Aussie side played a bloody good game up in Queensland, did well.

(But) you can’t look too much into a tour match there.

“It’s (the West Indies’) first experience after getting on our shores and they are having a hit out.

“No doubt they will come down here switched on and more competitive.”

Asked if he was wary of the Windies, Siddle said: “We always are.

“They’ve got some strong weapons with their bowling attack.

“They can blast teams out when they bowl well.

“We will have to bat well then we will exploit their batting which is not going to be quite as strong.”

Cricket Tasmania have reportedly already slashed ticket prices in order to avoid disappointing crowds.

General admission prices are believed to be 33 per cent less on average than tickets for the 2012 clash.

Less than 20,000 over five days attended the last Test in Hobart against Sri Lanka in December 2012 in which just 6,221 turned up on the opening day for a farewell to retiring favourite son Ricky Ponting.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has already issued a “use it or lose it” ultimatum to Hobart punters, saying the third last Test ranked Windies’ lowly stature would not be an excuse.

Siddle hoped the Hobart public would vote with their feet.

“Hopefully they do. We don’t play a lot of Tests here so it’s a good opportunity for people to come out and watch Test cricket in their home city and hopefully that’s the case this week,” he said.

Hobart are hopeful a good crowd helps their chances of hosting a day-night Test next summer, although Brisbane’s Gabba appears the front runner.


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