PETER Siddle is eager to help Essex make a strong start to the defence of their County Championship crown.

Essex kick off the new campaign at Yorkshire this morning.

And incoming Australian Siddle is determined to play a leading part in the opening contest.

“Hopefully I can help Essex start off well in the challenge to win back-to-back championships,” said Siddle.

“I like English grounds.

“They suit the way I bowl: stand the seam up, a little bit of movement back and forth, a slight bit of swing, that’ll suit me well.”

Siddle will line up alongside Jamie Porter in the Essex line up.

And Porter was keen to make the acquaintance of his new team-mate.

The pair had barely shaken hands when Porter whipped out his mobile phone to show his new team-mate a video he had saved specially for the occasion.

It was from Siddle’s only previous visit to Chelmsford, three summers ago, as part of the Australian touring party playing their final warm-up match before taking on England in the first Ashes Test.

“Yeah, he clean-bowled me in the second innings,” admitted Essex’s overseas bowler.

“He had that up on his phone.

“He showed me the second innings but he didn’t show the first innings when I smacked everyone around!

“There were a few sixes up in the grandstand there.

“There were plenty of balls going everywhere. I’ll try and find the footage and show the guys that.”

Siddle was the fifth of Porter’s six wickets in the match, and one of the 50 he took in his first full season in the Essex team.

He took 55 the following season and 75 last year for the champions to gain him a place in Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, announced this week.

“The season he had was outstanding,” said the possessor of 62 baggy-green Test caps, in which he claimed 211 scalps.

“Hopefully I can play a part in taking a little bit of the workload off him early on, but still see him go well.

“I’ll just try and help him out as much as I can.”

Siddle has a reputation as a hostile fast bowler, who gets plenty of bounce and is a willing workhorse.

But he is looking forward to getting settled in his new surroundings in Essex.

““I don’t want to come across here and just play cricket,” said Siddle.

““I like to play a big part in the team environment and make my stay worthwhile.