Ryan Sidebottom sees the parallels between England’s World Cup hopefuls and the side he was part of nine years ago which collected the country’s only global crown to date.
Sidebottom and current England captain Eoin Morgan were ever-presents as Paul Collingwood’s side went all the way in the 2010 World Twenty20, emboldened by a free-spirited approach to batting and an array of bowling options.
Openers Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter were drafted into the squad late on with a mandate to take the attack to the bowlers, a clear strategical plan among England’s contemporary crop of big-hitters.
Sidebottom told Press Association Sport: “You look at this England team, it has shades of that team in 2010 where it’s very attacking, very aggressive.
“I think I remember Colly saying to Lumby and Kieswetter ‘in the first six overs, I want you to go out and hit as many boundaries as you possibly can, hit as many fours and sixes, and that is pretty much it’.
“And when you view that, it allows you to free yourself up and gives you confidence and if you do give your wicket away then it’s like no drama.
“But we had such a strong team, we had all bases covered. In the final we won it comfortably against Australia. There’s no better feeling than beating the old enemy in a World Cup final, is there?”
The former left-arm seamer, speaking at Leigh CC in a showcase of how a grassroots cricket club can bring the community together and drive social connections, is a champion of England’s cause.
He insists Morgan’s side, who have shot to the top of the one-day international rankings, have the potential to do what no English 50-over side has ever done.
He said: “This is comfortably the best ODI team England have ever had and I think this will be the best chance they will ever have of winning the World Cup.”
Sidebottom, whose international career comprised of 22 Tests, 25 ODIs and 18 T20s, feels last week’s surprise loss to Pakistan may yet prove beneficial, pointing out that it could have sharpened England’s focus.
— Ryan Sidebottom (@RyanSidebottom) May 30, 2019
He added: “England are a brilliant, attacking team and they’ve got to the number one spot in the world because they are the best team. But it counts for nothing in World Cup matches and one-off games where anyone can beat anyone.
“It was good England lost in a way because it gives the team a kick up the backside, saying ‘look we are favourites but no game is going to come easy and we need to play better if we’re going to win every game’.
“I think the Pakistan game probably came at the right time, just to give them a kick up the butt to say ‘you’re the best team in the world but you can be beaten’. So that was good.”
:: Ryan Sidebottom was speaking at Leigh CC, who won an ECB competition designed to help grassroots clubs further connect with their local communities and help bring the excitement of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 into their clubhouse.