28 August 2015

The Ashes – by Ryan Sidebottom

Ryan Sidebottom - ICC T20 Mens World Cup Final

Now the urn has returned to England, I think we can definitely hope for a spike in young people taking up the sport.


In 2005, our success in the Ashes really captured the imagination of the nation – men, women, boys, girls, grandmas and granddads – it was amazing.


Likewise, the 2015 Series was hotly-anticipated and there’s been sustained interest in the series throughout.


Winning the Ashes only bodes well for the future of cricket in this country.


When Andy Murray is in action at Wimbledon, it’s amazing how many people take up tennis and we also saw the impact the Grand Depart being held in Yorkshire had on cycling in the region. I think the Ashes can be cricket’s own equivalent; it brings people together and it gets people off their backsides.


Overall, England is a very young team and that helps youngsters relate to the sport a little more, and to plot their own pathways.


I certainly think that young players will have been able to pick up a lot from watching the England players.


The young lads, in particular, have played with freedom and without a fear of failure, and they’ve shown that they’re capable of coming back strong from a defeat.


The players have stuck together as a unit – they’ve won together and they’ve lost together – and that camaraderie and team spirit sets a great example for young cricket fans.


After the defeat at Lord’s, they could have easily crumbled, but they showed a great fighting spirit to come back and win in a fantastic fashion.


Yorkshire lad Joe Root has really shone and I think he’s encapsulated the effort of the team as a whole. He plays with a smile on his face and is a bit of a lovable rogue, who enjoys his cricket.


Off the field, it’s been noticeable how the England lads have gone out of their way to interact with supporters, sign autographs and pose for selfies. They’ve been really approachable and I think the fans appreciate that. It’s certainly a quality that I think all young cricketers should try to develop.


Playing for England is mentally and physically tough, but the players have shown that they can enjoy it and embrace it.


The ‘human’ side of our cricketers has really come to the fore and that’s helped to show people that it’s not all doom and gloom, and that enjoying the environment that you are in can be just as important as winning.


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