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Ryan Sidebottom seizes comfort from home run-in
Ryan Sidebottom is ready and raring to go ahead of an exciting last five weeks of the county season.
The veteran left-arm swing bowler made an encouraging return to first-team action with two wickets in Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 win over the Unicorns after nearly six and a half weeks out with a torn calf.
Not only will the 34-year-old hope to make a difference in the LV= County Championship promotion race with four matches left, he could be crucial to success at next week’s Friends Life t20 Finals Day too.
A World Twenty20 winner with England in 2010, the former Nottinghamshire man will be a direct replacement for Australian ace Mitchell Starc, who is unavailable for the trip to Cardiff.
For Yorkshire, Sidebottom’s return to the side is almost like signing a new player.
Ahead of today’s key Championship clash with Division Two leaders Derbyshire at Headingley, he said: “It’s been a frustrating six weeks, but the rehab’s gone well and it's good to be back.
“It’s getting towards the business end to the season, which I’m looking forward to. Hopefully I can contribute.
“It’s vitally important to go out there and enjoy it and see what happens. I think it’s going to need three wins, but we’re playing good enough cricket to do well and force those wins.
“All of our games, apart from Essex, are at home. That could be a big factor for us. We’ve got one at Scarborough against Gloucester, where we generally do pretty well.”
For Sidebottom more than most, this summer’s Championship campaign has been a stop-start affair.
He picked up his “innocuous” injury while running in training after a t20 match against his former county on June 24 – and then there has been the weather to contend with.
“Championship cricket’s been pretty much non-existent this year,” he explained. “It’s had a very pre-seasony feel to it. You bowl a few overs, go off for a bit and then come back and bowl a few more.
“I think we’ve played pretty well when we’ve had the chance. It’s been tough to get into rhythm. As a batter you need time at the crease and as a bowler you need overs.
“I’ve found it tough when you’re not bowling too much outside because you can come into games not on the money. You can’t replicate bowling outdoors.”
There have been times when Yorkshire have not made full use of getting on the park. Their most recent match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, in which they were second best, is a prime example.
Derbyshire have made full use, and have won five of their 11 matches to take a 26-point lead at the top of the table.
“You’ve got to give them a lot of credit,” added Sidebottom. “They’re not a team of stars, but they’ve stuck to their gameplans. They’ve bowled well and put runs on the boards. They’re tough to play.”
Yorks squad v Derby: Gale, Lyth, Jaques, Ballance, McGrath, Rashid, Hodd, Rafiq, Pyrah, Sidebottom, Patterson, Ashraf.