Ryan's Column: All Set For Benefit Launch

Featured News | 22nd January 2010

It was a big surprise for me to earn a Test recall in the final match of the South Africa series at Johannesburg. I had been training hard and bowling well in the nets, but that’s different to bowling out in the middle.

We were 1-0 up in the series and had held on well to draw the two other games and so I thought they would stick with the same team. But then at the Wednesday practice session before the game on Thursday I was told there was a 99 per cent chance that I would be playing.

As you can imagine, I was overjoyed with the news because I thought I was going to have been on a long tour without getting into the action. It was obviously disappointing for Graeme Onions, who missed out, and I felt for him. But at the same time it was important for me to concentrate on the game and how I was going to bowl.

I’m not normally nervous going into a match, but I have to admit I was nervous this time because I haven’t played in a Test match for a while. At the same time, I was excited because I enjoy bowling in big games and there is no better feeling than pulling on the Three Lions.

I felt I bowled okay in the game and was getting back to where I was before my injury problems. I managed to put the batters under some pressure and if things have gone my way then I might have had two or three more wickets.

Everyone has seen for themselves what happened with the referrals and the one off my bowling from Graeme Smith was hugely frustrating. I was convinced he had nicked it when on 15 and the deflection was audible on SKY television.

But the third umpire (Daryl Harper) didn’t have the volume turned up. He gave Smith not out and he went on to make a century. I suppose I’m from the old school of cricket in that I believe it should just be left to the two guys out on the field.

Players forget that umpires will make mistakes, which is disappointing, but it happens and if there is no technology, people have to accept it. But when the technology is there and the decision has been made to use it, surely it has to be used in its entirety?

And if the system is going to be used it should be tried and tested, rather than being trialled in a vital Test match. People ask if what went on was a distraction for the England team and I would have to say yes. It is easy to say that we should have all forgotten about it, but it was at such a massive point in a series where we were 1-0 up.

That decision could have changed the game had it gone our way. You try to stay professional, but human nature dictates it is going to be in the back of people’s minds. It could be argued that we didn’t bat well enough in the first innings and that is where we lost the match. But for something like that to go against you doesn’t help, especially when a series is on the line.

Ending the series level was a disappointment after doing so well in the one-dayers. But, even so, I think a draw in South Africa was a pretty good effort.

It was great to land back in Britain on Wednesday morning and get back home to Nottingham to spend a few weeks with my friends and family. But I also can’t wait for the tour of Bangladesh in late February and early March.

It’s a very important tour for me as I look to re-establish myself with England and hopefully I can play regularly and take a decent amount of wickets. I’m out to keep showing that I’m still an England player and a valuable part of the team – and I believe I will. I don’t pay any attention to what is said about me in the national media.

I think I bowled well enough in Johannesburg and if some think I am finished with Test cricket, then I don’t know where they are coming from. I have never been someone who is going to bowl at 90mph, but I still have plenty to offer.

I know I am going to have a bit more responsibility on my shoulders because Jimmy Anderson is not travelling out there. But I have got plenty of experience now and I’ll be looking to make the most of that. It is not going to be the easy tour that people might expect on the evidence of Bangladesh’s past performances.

The fact is they are a vastly-improved side and they have shown that in their recent one-day series against India. They are going to have home advantage in conditions they are used to and they will have a battery of spinners to try to get at the England side. It will be a challenge, but one all the boys who are going are looking forward to. In the meantime I’ll keep my fitness ticking over to ensure I’m in the best shape possible for when we depart.

Tonight I’m officially launching my benefit year, which is likely to prove challenging but also enjoyable. I’m nervous to see how it goes, but I’m hoping the people of the county will give it their full backing.

If I can get in the England side regularly, then that is obviously going to help the profile of it. But, of course, that is all down to how well I bowl.

Most of the Notts lads are planning to come down, including the lads I have been on the England tour to South Africa with. I’m delighted to be able to help two organisations during the course of the next two months.

The Little Siddy Trust is something I have set up and is designed to help kids with illnesses and give them some happier times. Hopefully one day we will be able to build our own hospice and that would be amazing.

Then there is the RSPCA Rescue Centre at Radcliffe, which is an organisation close to my heart as I have always loved animals. I have got two cats and we have also had dogs in the family.

They are self-funding and hopefully I will be able to raise awareness of that. Any donations they receive would be a massive help to them.

Aside from the benefit plans, Broady (Stuart Broad) has come up with the goods with some Forest tickets, so I’m  off to the City Ground with him and Swanny to watch the game against QPR on Tuesday.

Read Ryan Sidebottom's column every week in the Nottingham Evening Post.

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Ryan Sidebottom

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