England start their summer on July 8 with the first of three Tests against the West Indies
By Rob Jones, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 09/06/20 6:09pm
Dominic Sibley may have made a fast start to his Test career in South Africa over the winter, but the Warwickshire opener is aware he still has plenty to prove in an England shirt if he wants to hold onto his place at the top of the order.
Sibley made his maiden Test century in Cape Town in January, as England came from behind to claim a rare series win overseas – only their second since 2016.
The 24-year-old was the only player to pass 1,000 runs in Division One of the County Championship last summer but accepts he has a lot more work to do to cement his international spot at the top of the order.
“You talk to people who have played way more games than I have and constantly you’ve got to keep proving yourself over and over again because there’s so many different challenges in cricket,” Sibley told Sky Sports.
“I’m not going to rest on my laurels, I’ve worked really hard in this lockdown period and I want to get off to a good start when we get going
“South Africa was a really pleasing series. Obviously getting a hundred and also winning the series was great, but also frustrating that I got in a few times and didn’t kick on, something to improve on there and it’s exciting to get going.
Sibley opened alongside Kent’s Zak Crawley for the final three Tests after Rory Burns sustained ankle ligament damage while playing football.
Crawley made a top score of 66, while Keaton Jennings was added to the squad for the tour of Sri Lanka, which was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After years of struggling to find a partner for Alastair Cook, England have decisions to make in terms of who opens the batting.
“I think it’s good, it’s something that pushes each one of us to keep improving, drives us to perform and I know from going back down to the Lions after the South Africa tour with Keaton and Zak that those guys train so hard as well and you try and keep pushing yourself to ensure you’re at that level and it’s exciting to have four guys going for two spots.
“Rory has been a great help for me over the years and I’ve played a lot of cricket with him. After he left South Africa I spoke to him every now and again, but I knew he was struggling with his injury and going in for surgery so it was a bit of a balance, but we’ve chatted since then and it sounds like his rehab is going great and he’s feeling really strong in his ankle and hopefully we’ll see him back and scoring runs for fun.”
England’s first opponents of the delayed international summer, West Indies, have arrived to begin their preparations for the three Test series which will be played at bio-secure venues from July 8.
England’s 55 man squad are able to train in small groups, with Sibley working at Edgbaston alongside Warwickshire team-mates Chris Woakes and Olly Stone plus Moeen Ali, to try and be ready as best as possible for the opening Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Sibley said: “The last two days have been really tough, the wickets have been a bit spicy at Edgbaston and they’ve had new balls in their hands – when you train like that it almost feels tougher than it would in the game.
“It’s nice to get it in the bank and hopefully when you get out in the middle it feels a little easier than it does in the nets.
“You can’t replace time in the middle at any level of cricket you play, it’s all well and good netting but as a batsmen you want to spend time at the crease – whether it’s a warm up game, second XI, a first team game you just want to be able to spend time in the middle.
“It’s obviously going to be frustrating that isn’t the case but it’s the same for everyone and it’s up to me to adapt as best as possible.”