Nasser Hussain has urged England’s Dom Sibley to enhance his game by nullifying his “big bias towards the leg side”, saying he should take inspiration from opener Rory Burns to improvise on his batting style.
Sibley, who followed his century in the second England-West Indies Test with a duck and a fifty in the ongoing third Test, was dismissed lbw in both innings, falling prey to inswinging deliveries while trying to shuffle across.
Hussain praised Sibley for ending England’s search for an opening batsman who can “grind out in tough English conditions,” but urged the batsman to tweak his technique and ease the reliance on his bottom hand.
“You’ve always got to keep working on your game, and Sibley’s problem is that he has a very big bias towards the leg side,” Hussain wrote in his column on the Daily Mail.
“Now, he’s been successful at every level of the game, so it clearly works for him and he understands his limitations. But what West Indies have done is pack the leg-side field and got the spinner to bowl straight.
“It stops him scoring, because he’s basically got one shot against off-spin, and that’s the clip to leg. Even when he tries to hit over the top, he has such a bottom-handed grip that he ends up dragging it to mid-wicket rather than over mid-on.
“He’s got to velcro himself to the batting coach Graham Thorpe and work out how to open the off side. England are touring India this winter, and maybe Sri Lanka too, so he’ll need a release shot.”
Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley's partnership was England's second-longest this century, behind the 574 balls faced by Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad against Pakistan at Lord's in 2010.https://t.co/RcYYRATCOf
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 17, 2020
Hussain further suggested Sibley guard himself against inswinging deliveries from the quicks on his pads, similar to the ones that dismissed him both times in the third Test.
“The other thing Sibley has to watch is playing across his front pad against the seamers,” he said. “But let’s give the lad a chance.
“He’s scoring runs, and – with the exception of Alastair Cook – England haven’t had many openers who have done that in recent years.”