Ryan Sidebottom played 22 Tests, 25 ODIs and 18 T20Is for England    Getty Images
Ryan Sidebottom played 22 Tests, 25 ODIs and 18 T20Is for England Getty Images

Former England paceman Ryan Sidebottom is to retire from professional cricket at the end of the 2017 county season, he announced Wednesday. The 39-year-old’s 20-year career has spanned three decades and saw him help England win the 2010 World Twenty20 — still the only occasion where England have lifted a major International Cricket Council limited-overs trophy. Yorkshire left-arm quick Sidebottom plans to focus on cricket academies he has established in Leeds and York once he is retired.

Sidebottom told BBC Radio Five on Wednesday that announcing his retirement to his Yorkshire team-mates had proved more difficult than he expected. “I set myself to speak to the boys (on Tuesday). I had my speech ready — it totally went out of the window and I just started welling up and blubbering my eyes out,” Sidebottom said. “I totally forgot what I was going to say so all these young lads were standing there thinking, ‘What’s this old bloke doing?'”

He added: “It’s very poignant. I’ve had lots of lovely messages this morning wishing me all the best. You think you can carry on forever, but I think it’s the right time, to finish at the end of my 20-year career. I feel very honoured and privileged.”

Sidebottom made his England Test debut against Pakistan in 2001 and took 79 wickets in 22 matches at an average of 28.24. He also appeared in 25 one-day internationals and finished with a bowling average of 19.00 from 18 international T20 matches.

His career has seen Sidebottom take over 1,000 wickets in all competitions and he also been one of the most successful players in the recent history of England’s first-class County Championship with five titles to his credit after wins with Yorkshire in 2001, 2014 and 2015 and Nottinghamshire in 2005 and 2010.

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon praised Sidebottom’s longevity in the game. “He’s been a fantastic servant to Yorkshire, Notts and England over the years — 20 years as a fast bowler is a remarkable achievement,” said Moxon, himself a former Yorkshire and England batsman.