Sidebottom back in the swing

The Notts seamer aims to shine in the shorter forms of the game after he could only watch England win the Ashes, writes David Lloyd

A spectacular rise was followed by a shuddering fall. But now, after a summer spent watching his team-mates win back the Ashes, there are signs that Ryan Sidebottom is on the way up again.

Having bowled with great control and plenty of intelligence during Sunday's first Twenty20 international, the left-arm paceman should be a certainty for tonight's second, and final, 40-over thrash at Old Trafford – provided his injury problems really are a thing of the past and he feels as fit as he looked 48 hours earlier when rain curtailed England's attempt to better Australia's 145 for four.

Sidebottom has long been one of sport's most easily identifiable performers. After all, fading into the background is not really an option when your hair resembles one of those tangled bushes last seen being blown through the Wild West. But, for 12 months or so, it was the quality of his cricket that caught everyone's eye and gave the game a great story.

Like father Arnie, who appeared once during the Ashes series of 1985, Ryan seemed destined to remain a fully paid up member of the "one-Test wonder" club, having been handed his cap in 2001 when Pakistan were visiting. But then, six years later, Sidebottom Jnr was recalled, pretty much out of the blue, and what followed would not have been out of place in a book of fairytales.

From a standing start, the Yorkshireman who moved south to Notts captured 70 wickets in just 15 Tests, including a hat-trick against New Zealand in Hamilton, and was named – to widespread approval – England's Cricketer of the Year in May 2008.

Sidebottom had just entered his 30s but, in cricketing terms, a star was born. Yet, just as quickly, feast turned to famine with one injury after another being largely responsible for limiting the swing and seam bowler to five Test appearances out of a possible 16 since the middle of last year and removing him from the one-day international team altogether until last week's trip to Ireland.

"It's been really tough and very frustrating," said Sidebottom, who has been laid low by back, Achilles and rib muscle problems. "I've been at home watching games with England winning and the bowlers performing well. Obviously you don't want others getting injured or guys not doing well but from a selfish point of view it is pretty gutting. I want to play as much as possible and I want to do well for England so now I'm just happy to be back, fit and well, and in the squad again."

Although not part of the Ashes-winning team, Sidebottom – through taking wickets and bowling plenty of overs for Notts – did put his name in the frame at both Headingley and The Oval, only to miss out when England's selectors decided to recall Steve Harmison and keep faith with Stuart Broad. Both decisions looked spot on by the end of the series, too. "The guys did really well and it was great to watch them so I cannot complain at all," said the 12th man from the fourth and fifth Tests.

"But I still feel as though I have a lot to offer. The Test arena guys have put in a great team performance but it is my job to keep plugging away. And these one-dayers are vitally important [seven 50-over internationals against Australia follow tonight's Twenty20], then straight away there is the Champions Trophy in South Africa. We want to be No 1 in all areas, including Twenty20 and one-dayers. That is our aim and something we have talked about.

"And in terms of this summer it would be ideal to beat Australia in all forms of the game and send them home not having won anything. That's great motivation."

Although England reckoned they still fancied their chances on Sunday when the rain arrived with the score four for two, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson had shown enough over seven legitimate deliveries to confirm that the Aussies have absolutely no intention of going home empty handed.

Joe Denly and Ravi Bopara, bounced out by the 90 mph men, can expect more of the same tonight. "That will be something we have to overcome – they are going to come pretty hard at us," said captain Paul Collingwood. "Hopefully we don't lose too many wickets too early when the pitches have some bounce and carry."

Collingwood insists that England will continue to support Bopara, who must have hoped he had turned a corner when scoring a double century for Essex after being left out of the final Ashes Test. Instead, the young batsman made a duck against Ireland and then managed only a single in the first Twenty20.

These are tough times for Bopara. But he need look no farther than Sidebottom for confirmation that there is always a way back to the top.

Out of the Ashes: The men who missed out

Adil Rashid Although he has yet to play a Test for England, Rashid was the name on many people's lips at the start of the Ashes, especially as Monty Panesar, England's second spinner, was in such poor form. To no avail.

Owais Shah An England Test player as recently as March against West Indies, Shah spent the summer with Middlesex despite the national side's repeated batting troubles. His moderate performance in that Trinidad Test hints at why he failed to pique the selectors' interest during the Ashes: he hit 33 and 1 while Strauss, Collingwood, Prior and Pietersen struck centuries.

Ryan Sidebottom A spiky, whole-hearted performer, Sidebottom could almost have been designed to tackle Australians. Nonetheless, the call never came during the Test series and he'll be aiming to show England what they missed in the short stuff.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game