Essex have announced that Peter Siddle"s contract has been deferred to 2021 on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
Siddle, 35, had been due to spend a third season as the club"s overseas player in the County Championship and the Royal London Cup, but following the postponement of the campaign and with uncertainty over international travel, it was mutually agreed that his contract should be pushed back a year. He is the latest in a series of player to have had a planned county stint cancelled or deferred as clubs look to cut costs.
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"It"s a shame I won"t be returning to Chelmsford this year as I was really looking forward to the season with the Eagles, but there are plenty of things more important than cricket going on in the world at the moment," Siddle said.
"In light of the current situation, it makes sense for me to come back over for the 2021 season when hopefully we"re back to normal and playing cricket again. It feels like a long way off at the moment, but I"m really excited to see all the boys and play at the County Ground again."
Siddle owed his Test recall to an impressive 2018 season with Essex, when he took 37 Championship wickets at 16.40 across seven games, and starred again in 2019 when his 34 wickets in eight matches earned him a spot in Australia"s Ashes squad.
Siddle"s compatriots Adam Zampa and Moises Henriques were due to be Essex"s overseas players for this season"s T20 Blast, but no decision has yet been reached on their contracts. As things stand, the competition is due to be played as scheduled, though it is likely to be postponed. The ECB will discuss contingency plans at Thursday"s board meeting.
"The postponed start to the season is going to have an impact on overseas players in the squad," said Derek Bowden, the club"s chief executive. "We are constantly reviewing the situation with our other overseas players in light of when various competitions will commence, together with their own personal safety and ability to travel."