Peter Siddle, vegan cricketer
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Right arm quick
Peter is a cricketer who bowls for Australia and Victoria.
The right arm fast bowler started playing regularly for Victoria in the 2006-7 season aged 22. By 2008 he had already caught the attention of the national selectors and followed a tour of India with Australia A (a national second team) he was selected in a 15 man squad for a four test tour of India. He made his debut on the tour, finishing with match figures of 176 for 4.
He was named International Cricket Council (ICC) Emerging Player of the Year for 2009.
Since then he has established himself as a leading national fast bowler. His career best of five wickets for 21 runs was made in the 2009 Ashes and in 2010 he took a Test match hat-trick on his 26th birthday as part of his match performance of 6 for 54 from just 16 overs. Following the test he was ranked as the 9th bowler in the world by the ICC.
He completed 100 test wickets in January 2012 and rose to 7th in the ICC rankings. In March 2013 he became the first no.9 batsman to score a half century in both innings of a test match.
Over the 2015-6 Australian summer Peter struggled with a stress fracture in his back but still became the 100th Australian to score 1,000 runs in test matches.
At the time of writing (August 2016) his bowling average is an impressive 29.88 for Test matches, with 208 test wickets. He's taken five of the ten wickets in an innings on eight occasions.
Peter turned vegetarian in 2002 which he admitted was at odds with the image of Australian fast bowlers. He was influenced by his partner Anna, a lifelong vegetarian. He later revealed that he has turned vegan in 2013 before Australia’s tour of England which saw them fail to regain the Ashes. Newspapers linked his diet to the fact that he was the only player to play in each Ashes Test, and pointed out that he toured following a gruelling workload from the Australia A team.
Before the transition Peter ate a lot of chicken, and most non-chicken meals included red meat and fish. He has also noted how much alcohol and soft drinks he drank then.
The decision to stop eating meat and drinking alcohol came quickly and while it was his, his partner Anna had cooked him enough vegetarian meals which had impressed him and introduced new foods.
“The difference in my recovery time and energy levels has been the biggest thing I’ve noticed. In between matches, my recovery time has been fantastic and it has improved out of sight. This is really important when there is a short turnaround between matches. We have had some big games in the past couple of years and I’ve been really pleased with how my body, since making the change to a plant-based diet, has been able to handle the workload and bounce back from big training sessions and games without sustaining an injury.”
While Peter has had some great health benefits from changing his diet, it’s not the only motivator.
“Animal cruelty played a huge part in my decision to go plant based. After learning a lot more about the processes of factory farming, battery hens, abattoirs etc, I realised that the meat industry was something I wanted nothing to do with. The mental conflict I felt when consuming meat and the thought that an animal had lost its life just for my appetite deeply upset me. Before I learnt what went on behind the doors of the meat industry, I was unable to make the connection with the beautiful animal that once was and what now sat in front of me on my plate."
"One year later the same thing happened as I learnt about the dairy industry, which I now think is probably the worst of them all. The intolerable cruelty, which is predominantly hidden from the public is disgusting.”
Peter and Anna also look after rescue dogs at home until permanent homes are found. Their first dog found a home with teammate Aaron Funch. Their wedding in 2017 was featured in the media with their dogs in attendance and impressive vegan food including wedding cake (read more here).
Breaking the stereotype
Peter is aware that an alcohol-free, vegan Australian fast bowler is an unusual combination. He initially got some banter from teammates, but when they realised he was serious it turned to curiosity. Now some of the other players are taking some of his ideas on board.
Peter is confident that his changes have given him the prospect of extending his career, and we look forward to seeing more of the devastating bowling performances he’s capable of.
“My fitness is better than it’s ever been...I can back my body and not worry about this niggle or that injury.”
“I have lost eight kilos and I’m the fittest, fastest and strongest I’ve ever been. My recovery time after games has shortened and my body is in the best condition to date.
More information about Peter elsewhere online