Ryan Sidebottom sees parallels between England’s run to the T20 World Cup final in Australia and the 2010 side that he helped to go all the way in the Caribbean.
The former left-arm seamer took 10 wickets at 16 runs apiece with an economy rate of 7.44 as England defied many pre-tournament predictions to claim their first global title a dozen years ago.
England did so despite starting slowly, only getting out of the first group stage on net run-rate, but peaked at the right time as they memorably thrashed Australia in the Barbados final by seven wickets.
Jos Buttler’s side were also fairly unremarkable at the Super 12s group stage but laid down a marker ahead of Sunday’s showdown against Pakistan with a 10-wicket semi-final hammering of India.
Sidebottom told the PA news agency: “No one expected us to do what we did. It was kind of similar to England at this World Cup, we limped over the group stages a little bit.
“Then we just built momentum and confidence, we got better and better as the tournament went on, a little bit like they have now. When we got to the final, we were just massively confident.
“We believed that we could do something special. Looking at this team in the way they celebrated after beating India, how they won and the style of the win, I would probably say the same.
“We didn’t go into the final saying ‘we’re going to win’ but there was an air of confidence and, regardless of who we were playing, we felt we could win. I think this team will feel the same.”
While Sidebottom is confident England can end a 12-year wait to win this tournament, he indicated the players will be in for a restless night before the match, having experienced that feeling himself.
He said: “I guarantee there won’t be much sleeping. I remember being on the bus myself and all the boys asking each other what time they got to bed; some didn’t sleep, some got to sleep at 5am.
“However much you want to try and relax and switch off and just try and focus on the game when you get there, you can’t help but play the game over and over in your mind.”
This weekend’s marquee match at the MCG will be shown on free-to-air television after Sky agreed to share coverage with Channel 4 in an echo of what happened when England won the 2019 50-over World Cup.
Sidebottom pointed how advantageous it is to bring in a terrestrial partner to increase the viewership, offering the younger generation access to a match they may not have been able to see behind a paywall.
He said: “It would have been nice if our match in 2010 had been on terrestrial TV to see England win a major tournament. But you don’t dwell on it and it’s not just about us.
“You’re inspiring the next generation and people that might not get to see the sport another way. Away from cricket I’ve watched all the Rugby League World Cup matches on the BBC. It’s so accessible.”
The former Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire quick, whose international career comprised of 22 Tests, 25 ODIs and 18 T20s, still regards his England World Cup win as the pinnacle of his career.
He said: “I’ve still got my medal and my shirt, people now still say ‘you’re a World Cup winner’.
“There are times when you might reflect, more so with England getting to the final now where you remember being in that position many, many moons ago.
“I know how it felt and what it felt like, going to the ground on the coach and how nervous the boys were – but how confident. It’s something I’ll always remember.”