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May 24, 2007
Ryan Sidebottom is looking forward to getting one up on his father after being recalled to the England squad six years after playing his one-and-only Test. Sidebottom, the left-arm Nottinghamshire seamer, is a good chance to play in the second Test against West Indies starting at Headingley on Friday with Matthew Hoggard (thigh) and Andrew Flintoff (ankle) both injured.
Like his father Arnie, a Yorkshire seamer who featured in the 1985 Ashes, Sidebottom junior is currently a one-Test wonder, having made his debut in a Lord's victory over Pakistan in 2001. Sidebottom, 29, has taken 221 first-class victims at 25 since that solitary Test six years ago.
Although he featured in one-day squads in the meantime, he did not get another chance under former coach Duncan Fletcher and is grateful Peter Moores is now in charge. "A lot of players have probably seen the regime change as a positive," Sidebottom, who knows Headingley well from his time with Yorkshire, said.
"I probably didn't perform to the best of my ability when I played that Test but I am a better bowler now. I've been a consistent performer and been opening the bowling in all forms of the game for Notts and reaping the rewards."
Sidebottom, who took 50 County Championship wickets in consecutive years in 2005 and 2006, said his England recall had come as a shock. "We were just going out for training and our coach at Nottinghamshire Mick Newell dragged me in the office and said David Graveney had rung," he said. "It was a bit out of the blue but I'm pleasantly surprised."
Sidebottom said his current Test status had been the source of a few laughs between him and his father. "My dad and I still have a joke and a giggle about it and he said 'you'll probably outdo me now'," he said. However, Arnie Sidebottom may not be at Headingley on Friday should Ryan make it into England's XI. "My mum is trying to get dad to come to the Test but I'm not sure if he will," Sidebottom said. "He's a nervous wreck watching me. I think he would rather go down to the bookies and lose his money on the horses."