County cricketer retires

After one World Cup, five county championships, 1,000 wickets and two decades, England and Yorkshire cricketer Ryan Sidebottom has finally retired from professional cricket.

The Boston Spa-based swing bowler played a pivotal role in England winning the T20 World Cup in 2010 and is the only player in the last 15 years to win five county championships – with Yorkshire in 2001, 2014 and 2015 and with Nottinghamshire in 2005 and 2010. (More stats below)

Following his trophy-laden 20-year career – including winning the one day trophy in 2002 – the Huddersfield-born 39-year-old will now focus his attention on his Leeds-based cricket Academy which nurtures young talent with professional coaching and his own Foundation which offers free long-term sessions for disadvantaged kids across Yorkshire.

Ryan is also hoping to turn a few heads after launching a new interior design business, where he hopes to harness his creative flair in partnership with wife, Kate.

He’s a patron for Martin House Hospice children’s charity too and has more recently begun working with the NSPCC to raise awareness of their Speak Out Stay Safe programme in schools.

The father-of-two said: “Not many people get to do what they dreamt about as a kid growing up, but dreams became a reality for me and I’ve cherished every moment.

“Every match, every bowl and every wicket has always meant something because I always wanted to do two things when I stepped out onto the pitch – enjoy it and win.

“I still feel 21 in my mind, but my body thinks otherwise and it’s telling me ‘Ryan, give it a rest’ and I reckon I should listen! I’ve had a few injuries this season, which backs up my decision, but it was always my aim to end things on my terms and I’d like to think I’ve done that.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better set of lads to share the trials and tribulations I’ve enjoyed with Yorkshire, Notts and England over the last 20 years. They’re memories that will last a lifetime, for sure, but it’s time to makes some more and open up the next chapter.”

Sport is in his family’s DNA, with father Arnie making his name as a footballer at Manchester United and cricketer for Yorkshire.

He added: “It’s been a real family affair, from my dad supporting my sporting development to launching the business with Kate. I really enjoy interior design – the creative aspect of shaping something new – but it’s a bit daunting too as it doesn’t involve me hurling a ball at the stumps!

“I love the game that’s given me so much, so I’ll never say never – who knows, I might end up becoming a team coach one day. The Academy and Foundation are a real focus for me now, nurturing and bringing through some amazing young talent who I hope one day will go on to wear the white rose with as much pride as I have over the years.

“But for the short term it’s about spending some time with the family, friends, recovering – and maybe even booking a summer holiday for the first time in 20 years.”

Martyn Moxon, Director of Cricket at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “He’s been a fantastic servant to Yorkshire, Notts and England over the years. Twenty years as a fast bowler is a remarkable achievement.

“He can be very proud of what he has achieved in cricket, an unprecedented level of success.”

My thanks go to him for everything he’s done for Yorkshire cricket and since he came back to us we’ve had some excellent success and he’s been a major part of it,” added Martyn.

“From my point of view in dealing with Ryan, he’s a gentleman off the field – a bit of a gentle giant, but on it fiercely competitive, proud and he’s obviously going to be missed on the playing side of things. However, I hope we can keep him involved in a mentoring capacity going forward, as he has a lot to offer to the young fast bowlers in particular.

“His commitment, skills, passion and consistency are the over-riding memories. The more recent memory is in a batting capacity at Lord’s in the last game of last season when his four got us past 350 and got us a fourth batting point to keep us in with a chance of still winning the Championship.

“His partnership with Tim Bresnan under severe pressure, in a big game like that, shows his winning mentality and his desire to do everything possible to win. Ability under pressure says it all about Ryan.”

Ryan’s career as a professional has seen him take more than 1,000 career wickets. He was the 37th international bowler ever to take a test match hat-trick, which he took against New Zealand in 2008, and went on to play 22 tests averaging 28.24 with the ball plus another 25 one day internationals averaging 35.82 and 18 international T20s averaging 19.00.

He made his England test match debut in 2001 against Pakistan and after an impressive period with Nottinghamshire in 2007 – where he helped them to a double promotion, took 50 first-class wickets, became the Player of the Year and helped them to the Championship title for the first time in 18 years – and he returned to the England side captained by Michael Vaughan and took four wickets in his first innings and eight wickets in the game.

He went on to become a prolific bowler for England over the next two years. March 2008 saw him take his third five-wicket haul in the same series, breaking the previous record for an Englishman in New Zealand.

In 2010 he played a pivotal role in the T20 World Cup winning side led by Paul Collingwood, including a final win against the old adversaries Australia where Ryan was the leading England wicket-taker with two wickets for 26 runs at an average of 6.5. He was joint leading wicket-taker in the series alongside Graeme Swann, taking 12 wickets.