Why BBL09 wickets mean more to superstar Siddle
Wickets mean a lot to any bowler, but the scalps amount to significantly more than just on-field glory to Peter Siddle this Big Bash League season.
In early January, the Adelaide Strikers star, Melbourne Stars' Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson of the Renegades launched their 'Wickets for Wildlife' initiative as part of the amazing response from the nation's sportspeople and codes to Australia's bushfire crisis.
Raising funds for WIRES Animal Wildlife Organisation and Wildlife Victoria, Siddle, Zampa and Richardson are donating $200 for every wicket they take this BBL09 - while the latter two have kept it going since travelling to India with the Australian ODI squad.
A native of Gippsland, the devastating Victorian bushfires are hitting close to home for Siddle - who has taken 11 wickets for the Strikers in BBL09.
But equally so is the impact they are having on millions and millions of native wildlife caught up in the raging infernos.
"We obviously feel a hell of a lot for the people involved, the people who have been affected and the volunteers and firefighters are doing everything in their role, but I think sometimes it goes missing as to the effect it can have on the wildlife and the animals around the country as well," Siddle told The Advertiser.
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"It's (over) a billion animals that have been affected by these fires, which is a ridiculous number and to be able to help out the animals in this small way, hopefully it can go a long way."
Leading Australian comedian Andy Lee has gotten on board, as has Sydney Sixers' Sean Abbott - which made the Strikers' thrilling loss to them at Adelaide Oval a couple of weeks ago a bittersweet one in a way for Siddle.
"Animals, animal welfare and preventing animal cruelty is something that is very close to Zamps, Richo's and my hearts and to get the message from Seany off his own bat was pretty amazing," Siddle said.
"He can't bowl at the moment so he nominated Tom Curran as his bowler he will contribute to when he gets wickets.
"As much as it hurts losing (to the Sixers), Tommy got four wickets (4/22) so that's a good little whack of money that Seany has added in.
"To have him contact us and want to play a part in this thing that we have set up is quite humbling, to be honest."
So far, more than half of the $50,000 target has been raised, with Siddle admitting he is constantly checking his phone every 10 to 15 minutes to watch how donations are tracking.
"It was the day of the derby between the Stars and Renegades (when the idea was formed)," Siddle said.
"I was in Melbourne and I contacted the boys (Zampa and Richardson) and said 'let's do this', they said 'okay' and then there was the rush to get it done.
"The wife (Anna) was helping out to get all the wording done for us so it comes across well and people understand why, and so it feels genuine."
Upon the conclusion of the fundraiser, three people will be given individual playing shirts from Siddle, Zampa and Richardson.
The person who gives the most money will receive a signed 2019 Ashes shirt from Siddle himself.
He said as well as raising the much-needed funds, he hoped to also increase awareness of the devastation and how people can help.
"That's what I want people to understand as well, you will always get the negative people saying 'what about the humans?' We care about that as well, I've donated to the firefighters and people who have lost stuff," he said.
"It's not that we don't care about it, we just want to be involved in any way possible.
"When you come to Australia all the people from overseas, whether they are sportspeople or celebrities or just people, they come over for our wildlife as well… they love the native animals that are so vital to our country
"So, it's just about trying to play our part and hopefully in some way, it may be small, but it's better than nothing."
To donate to Wickets for Wildlife, visit this page.