Dancing On Ice 'the hardest thing I've ever done', says Ryan Sidebottom ahead of 2019 final

Ryan Sidebottom, right, with his Dancing on Ice partner, Brandee Malto. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Ryan Sidebottom, right, with his Dancing on Ice partner, Brandee Malto. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Harrogate resident Ryan Sidebottom just about did it all as a cricketer.

He helped England win the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup, took 79 wickets for his country in 22 Test matches and enjoyed five County Championship titles during a 20-year professional career.

The 41-year-old claimed 762 first-class scalps, many of which came while turning out for his native Yorkshire CCC, the club whom he began and finished his playing career with.

More recently, Sidebottom played his part in guiding Surrey to a first County Championship crown for 16 years in his role as bowling consultant.

Yet, believe or not, all that was easy compared to putting on a pair of ice skates and attempting to stay upright.

Something of a cult hero to cricket fans, the man nick-named 'Sexual Chocolate' has become even more of a household name in recent months following his appearances on ITV series Dancing On Ice.

Although no stranger to the big stage, Sidebottom has performed live in front of television viewing audiences in excess of seven million people, and concedes that life in the rink has really tested him.

"Dancing on Ice is the hardest thing I've ever done," said the former left-arm pace bowler, who made it as far as week seven of this year's competition.

"Cricket was an absolute breeze by comparison, I've had to work really, really hard and I'm proud of how I performed.

"I literally held my partner Brandee [Malto]'s hand for the whole of the first two weeks. I was so scared.

"It's been a massive challenge for me, performing live on a major TV show in front of more than seven million people, but it's been a wonderful experience.

"As hard as I've found it at times, I've still enjoyed every minute. There's been a lot of challenges and lots of emotion, but so much fun."

Sidebottom will return to Dancing on Ice for Sunday evening's final, and although no longer in contention to win the competition, he said he can't wait to go back.

"I'm really looking forward to Sunday and going back for the final, it'll be a great occasion to be involved in," he added.

"I'm not sure about who is going to win, it's so tough to call.

"I really don't know. If I had to say, I think that maybe Wes [Nelson] is the front-runner, but it's going to be so close."

So, once Sunday's final is over and done with, what next for Sidebottom, who has now left his temporary coaching position at Surrrey?

"I'm ready for a little bit of time off," he revealed.

"I've been fairly busy since retiring from playing and I want some time with the family now.

"This is a big year for cricket with the World Cup and an Ashes series against Australia, so I'm looking forward to that, but between now and the summer I'm going to try and take it easy."