Ryan Sidebottom: What it means to become a world champion with England
England’s cricketers made history on Sunday when they won the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time, beating New Zealand at Lords in a thrilling encounter dubbed by many as the greatest ever.
Not many know what it feels like to achieve such a feat, though Harrogate resident Ryan Sidebottom is one person who does.
The former Yorkshire CCC and England bowler helped his country to World Twenty20 glory in 2010 and says that the experience is one that cannot be bettered in a sporting sense.
“Winning a World Cup for England, particularly when it hasn’t been done before, is an amazing experience,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.
“It’s a feeling of sheer elation at having achieved something so immensely special.
“To win a global tournament is something that doesn’t happen every day so those lads will have woken up feeling on top of the world the morning afterwards.
“For a few days or maybe even a few weeks or months they will be treated like national heroes, and rightly so.
“You just have to look at the reception that Adil Rashid got when he returned to Bradford and was greeted by so many people.
“It will take some time to sink in completely, however.
“There will be a lot of emotions and it will be an emotionally-draining time for some, but just a truly amazing experience and one you just cannot replicate.”
Though the team that Sidebottom became a global champion with excelled in a shorter format of the game than the 2019 50-over World Cup winners, there are some striking similarities between the two sides.
In 2009, at the tournament immediately prior to their triumph in the West Indies less than a year later, England’s T20 team had been humbled, knocked out on home soil before the knock-out stages and also turned over by minnows Holland.
Similarly, England’s previous 50-over World Cup campaign (2015) was a disaster - as were the five that had gone before that - Eoin Morgan’s men bowing out in the group stage having been embarrassed by Bangladesh.
As a result, they were forced to re-invent themselves and adopt a different brand of cricket, just as Sidebottom and his team-mates had done nine years earlier.
“I think there are a lot of similarities. We were in poor in 2009 and had to change the way we played the game," the 41-year-old added.
“Andrew Strauss and Eoin Morgan, who was part of that 2010 squad, knew that the ECB had to do the same with the ODI side after the 2015 World Cup.
“Both teams adopted a more attacking philosophy and it has paid off. The aggressive fashion that our batsmen went after the opposition bowlers from the start of an innings and the way that our bowling unit functioned is a lot like this year’s World Cup-winning side.
“I don’t know if we were as good a team as this one is, but we played with the same freedom and without fear of failure.
"We were able to go out and express ourselves and that was a big factor in our success."
Now retired from cricket, Sidebottom worked throughout the World Cup hosting and speaking at off-field events and was in attendance as England lifted the trophy on Sunday following their narrow triumph over the Black Caps.
Both teams scored 241 in their regulation 50 overs and still could not be separated following a super over, each making 15, meaning that the host nation triumphed by virtue of having hit more boundaries during the contest.
The climax was however simply incredible and will go down in history as one of the most thrilling ever.
“It was one of the greatest games of cricket that anyone has ever seen,” Sidebottom added.
“It was such an awesome spectacle to witness and be a part of and the England team weren’t the only winners.
“Cricket as a whole will benefit from what happened on Sunday. Boys and girls, particularly in this country, will be inspired. They’ll want to be the next Ben Stokes or Jofra Archer and that can only be good for the game.
“The knock-on effect will see growth in the game, starting at grassroots level and that’s what we need.
“England winning a World Cup will do wonders for cricket.
“They had a bit of luck along the way, however you need that in close games and fair play to New Zealand and their captain Kane Williamson for their sportsmanship. They were very humble in defeat.
“Given how unlucky they were to lose that match, I don’t know if I would have been able to react as graciously in the same situation.”