Martyn Moxon has finally got his man. During his time as Durham coach he thought he had succeeded in signing Ryan Sidebottom and he is delighted to have persuaded the 32-year-old left-arm bowler to return to Yorkshire.
When Sidebottom left Yorkshire in 2004 he preferred Nottinghamshire to Durham and was a key part of the Championship winning sides of 2005 and 2010.
The former England seamer has put the lure of his home county before the offers of bigger wages from other counties and has signed a three-year deal.
Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of professional cricket, said: “I am delighted that Ryan has chosen us ahead of many other counties. I think that proves his Yorkshire pride. He will provide us with proven consistency and wicket-taking ability and will provide Andrew Gale with a senior bowler of real quality to turn to.”
Sidebottom, who has now retired from international cricket, played 54 first-class games for Yorkshire between 1997 and 2003, capturing 163 wickets at 25.12. He left for Trent Bridge under a cloud, citing a lack of first-team opportunities and hinting at personality clashes.
But the Huddersfield-born player remains a popular figure in Yorkshire, especially as his father, Arnie, also played for the county.
“Ryan is in his 30s but he’s still a very good performer,” said Moxon. “The fact that he’s not going to play international cricket again is important because it means he will be available for the whole season, and he also provides variety with his left-arm pace.
“I’ve got the utmost respect and admiration for him and I know he is desperately keen to finish his career on a high.”
Sidebottom made his England Test debut in 2001 against Pakistan, but after a wicketless performance and two ODIs against Zimbabwe he seemed destined to be a one-cap wonder, like his father.
But in 2007 he was recalled to England’s attack and responded with eight wickets against West Indies at Headingley. He was England’s Player of the Year in 2008 and played a crucial role in the 2010 World Twenty20 triumph.
Sidebottom said: “I have enjoyed my time at Trent Bridge and with England enormously, but I’m a Yorkshire lad and the opportunity to return to Headingley to end my career was something I couldn’t ignore.
“The Yorkshire side has some real quality and under Martyn Moxon and Andrew Gale made real strides forward. I want to give the county everything I can over the next three years and if we can reward the Yorkshire public with a trophy or two that would be fantastic.”