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.

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album