Speaking on Sky Sports Cricket, commentator Nasser Hussain pointed out that Dom Sibley, unusually, plays with a bat with unsymmetrical shoulders, having cut off the inside shoulder.
The England opener rarely follows the orthodox route when batting, preferring to furrow his own path, and that appears to extend to his kit.
“I noticed actually with Sibley’s bat, he’s cut away the inside shoulder,” said Hussain. “I was thinking maybe it’s the outside shoulder because of [wanting to prevent] the outside edges. But it’s actually the inside shoulder because of his grip. He chokes that bottom hand so much he doesn’t have an inside shoulder of the bat.”
The alteration, while unusual, isn’t unique, as Hussain’s fellow commentator Michael Atherton explained. His son, Josh de Caires, is an opener at Middlesex, and Atherton says he asks Gray Nicolls, who supply both Sibley and de Caires with their bats, to do something similar for his equipment.
“I was speaking to Athers next door actually,” said Hussain. “Ath’s boy, Josh does exactly the same. He asked Gray Nicolls to chop off the inside shoulder, you can see it there. As that bottom hand gets in, if there was a shoulder of the bat, he chokes it so much at the bottom it starts bruising your hand. He’s chopped it off and you can slide that glove in and not get any bruising or discomfort.”
Shane Warne, on commentary with Hussain, had a more simple solution.
“Just move your grip up a bit,” he said. “Pretty simple, isn’t it? Just move it up half an inch. Move it up half a centimetre, you don’t touch it.
“That’s the Aussie, Shane Warne way,” Hussain retorted.