GRANGE have pulled off a stunning pre-season signing coup by snapping up ex-England star Ryan Sidebottom.
The former Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire fast bowler, who played in 22 Tests and 25 one-day internationals, will spearhead the Edinburgh club’s attack as they bid to wrest the Eastern Premier title from city rivals Heriot’s.
Sidebottom, 40, retired from county cricket at the end of last season following a sparkling career that saw him claim almost 800 first-class wickets.
The left-arm seamer approached Grange coach John Blain - a former Yorkshire team-mate - last month to explore the possibility of extending his career in the club game and a deal was completed last night.
Andrew Brock, Grange captain, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome a player of Ryan’s undoubted ability.
“You can’t ask much more than to have a Test-class player in your team but as well as that he’s a top guy and will have a tremendous influence on our younger players.
“He has already expressed his commitment to helping coach our juniors so this really is a brilliant signing for us.
“It all came about through Ryan’s friendship with John at Yorkshire and the fact that the two clubs share the same sponsor, Mazars.
“Ryan is certainly a player you’d rather have playing for you rather than against you but I believe guys of his class are good for the whole league – not just our club. You raise your game against players like that.”
It’s understood Sidebottom may miss next week’s league opener against Aberdeenshire due to commitments as a bowling consultant to Surrey but he will be available for the bulk of the season.