Dom Sibley is enjoying his cricket again but is trying to stay focused on the present with Warwickshire rather than a possible recall to England.
The fly-half was dropped from the international set-up last summer after a string of low scoring and opted out of touring Australia with the England Lions in order to work on his technique at home.
A Century in May against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford – the venue for England’s second Test with South Africa next week – vindicated the ‘difficult’ decision Sibley made when he turned down the chance to be part of a ghost team Down Under while the Ashes were pass.
Another success followed with a stubborn 102 at Northamptonshire in June, forcing a draw on the final day, but more recently the 26-year-old showed off his white-ball cricket skills with the LV=Insurance County Championship on hiatus.
An unbeaten 106 earlier this month started Warwickshire’s Royal London Cup campaign with victory at Gloucestershire and he hit 89 on Friday in a losing cause against Middlesex at Radlett, shortly after England fell in three days in South Africa at Lord’s but Sibley generally remains weighted.
He told the PA news agency: “I try not to look too far ahead and stay in the present. I have games coming up and I want to get points for Warwickshire so that’s it. what I’m focusing on right now.
“I feel good, I’m playing well. I played well (against Middlesex). Radlett is a fast playing field and it’s always nice to have a fast outfield.
“From a personal point of view against an international bowler like (Umesh) Yadav, who played at a decent pace, it was good to feel good against a bowler like that but ultimately disappointed that he couldn’t throw and bring the team over the line.
“I think overall when I hit the red ball thing it was all about enjoying it a little bit more. I wanted to play with a little more fun compared to last summer (and) my technique, but nothing too drastic has changed. I’m just trying to enjoy it a little more.
Fun was a big buzzword used by new England Test captain Ben Stokes, who quickly ushered in an ultra-aggressive style that worked in June and July with thrilling chases in wins over Nova Scotia. Zealand and India.
South Africa ended Stokes and Brendon McCullum’s winning streak at Lord’s with victory secured by one set and 12 runs just a week after an England Lions XI that contained Sibley beat Proteas by an even greater margin at Canterbury.
While Sibley was overshadowed in the four-day game by the eye-catching exploits of Ben Duckett, Harry Brook and Dan Lawrence, it was his 48 at the top that gave them a platform and also performed at a strike rate faster than usual 77.41. under the watchful eye of McCullum and general manager of men’s cricket Rob Key.
“It was good to play against South Africa last week, really nice,” admitted the future Surrey player.
“They (McCullum and Key) talked early on and as a team we just wanted to play well.
“We wanted to play good, positive cricket and we did, so it was an enjoyable week.”
Sibley scored his first test hundred away in South Africa in 2020 but he was only able to top triple digits once more for his country and that saw him fall last August with an average of 28.94 over 22 matches.
Despite Zak Crawley’s struggles over the summer, England are set to stick with the Kent striker for next week’s Second Test in Manchester and have no obvious replacement in their current 14-man squad.
It means Sibley’s chances of recall may have to wait for the winter tour to Pakistan, but he is determined to finish the domestic season strong and bid farewell to Warwickshire by keeping them in the Premier League.
“Yeah, I guess it was tough, but I needed to work on my game and my technique, so I’m glad I’ve scored a few points since then,” Sibley said of the decision to turn down the Australian tour. of the Lions of England. last winter.
“I feel like I played well but I want to finish the season strong.
“Hopefully I can finish with a few hundred more in the Championship to help us stay on our feet. It would be really nice to finish well (at Warwickshire) and make sure that as a team we are not not relegated.