After being forced to return home from England’s winter tour of Bangladesh due to a thigh injury, Nottinghamshire fast bowler Ryan Sidebottom has his sights set on a return to the England team ahead of a busy summer of cricket.
Australia, Bangladesh and Pakistan visit this summer and there is the small matter of an Ashes tour at the end of the year but for Sidebottom, who watched his father, Arnie, play against Australia back in 1985, he is trying not to look too far ahead.
“Everyone’s talking about the Ashes already but there’s a lot of cricket this year – five ODIs against Australia, then Pakistan are a very talented team – it’s going to be good. We just need to perform well,” he told Cricket World ahead of Nottinghamshire’s opening LV= County Championship Division One fixture of the 2010 season against Kent.
Sidebottom missed out on selection during England’s 2009 Ashes triumph after working his way back into contention following an injury-troubled tour of the West Indies and although he was disappointed to have been forced out of the Bangladesh tour early he was pleased with the way the team performed.
“It was not ideal picking up an injury in Bangladesh – it would have been nice to have played regularly and get back to being a regular in the England team but it wasn’t meant to be.
“I thought England performed really well – we’re the only team not to have lost to Bangladesh now so that’s an absolutely fantastic effort.”
England won the ODI series 3-0 and the Test series 2-0 although they were pushed hard by the home side, who took the second Test into the last session of the final day and only an Eoin Morgan century saw England home in the second ODI.
As Twenty20 cricket continues to expand, some have questioned the future of the game, focussing on the perceived vulnerabilities of four-day and 50-over cricket. The 2010 county season will feature no 50-over cricket, and the replacement 40-over competition does not excite Sidebottom as much as the longest and shortest formats of the game.
“I love the Twenty and the Championship. I’m not so sure about Pro40. Formats are changing all the time and we’ve seen how much the IPL has improved the game of cricket,” he added.
For the past two seasons, Nottinghamshire have trailed champions Durham and made the runners-up spot their own in the County Championship, something that Sidebottom would love to see changed later this year.
“This year might be tough for us. As a team, we’ve lost quite a bit of experience but there’s no reason why we can’t push to win the Championship again.
“We’ve come second the last two years so we need to perform well as the first division as getting ever stronger and hopefully we can do that.”
Sidebottom has been awarded a benefit year by Nottinghamshire and he has chosen to support two charities close to his heart - the Little Siddy Trust and the RSPCA and while he admits he may not be the most popular cricketer to have ever played the game, he does have his supporters and he thinks he knows the reason why.
"I won’t say I’m the most popular person but I think people like the way I play, I might not be the greatest bowler in the world but I play with passion, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I give it my best. That’s all you can do."
Click here to listen to the interview in full.
© Cricket World 2010