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‘Difficult to look past’ – Giles pushes for Sibley’s England selection

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Ashley Giles has backed Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley to be inducted into international cricket soon, calling him an “ambitious” guy who will be “difficult to look past”.

The uncapped Sibley will be one of the few names up for discussion as England decide their Test squad for the two-match series against New Zealand in November-December.

“He is a mature guy, who works extremely hard and is really ambitious, so it’s difficult to look past what he’s got this season,” Giles, ECB’s managing director for men’s cricket, said.

Sibley has been scoring bucketloads of runs for Warwickshire, sitting atop the county run charts for the season. The only batsman to hit more than 1000 runs in Championship games so far, Sibley averages 69.68 in 2018/19, with five centuries and as many fifties. Earlier this week, he slammed an unbeaten 215 against Nottinghamshire, and followed it up with a century in the second innings as well.

“He’s got almost 1,400 runs this year, an amazing amount of runs, and pleasingly, he has faced around 3,000 balls, which is over a thousand more than anyone else, so that’s a good starting point.”

With Sibley being looked upon as an opening option, the out-of-form Jason Roy, a recent graduate to red-ball cricket, could find his place difficult to hold. Roy has garnered just one fifty in his first ten Test innings, but Giles believes that Roy continues to push himself to succeed in the longest format.

“I think it would be fair for me to say Jason is very keen to play Test cricket,” Giles said. “While the white-ball stuff is great fun and it’s very lucrative, I think all of the players see the biggest challenge is getting Test cricket right.”

Giles stated that Sibley’s run-scoring spree alone should merit his selection, taking examples of players like Steve Smith and Rory Burns, who are currently flourishing at the top level despite not being prime examples of copy-book grace.

“Dominic is not the prettiest on the eye all the time, but then neither is Rory Burns or Steve Smith. He is a mature guy, who works extremely hard and is really ambitious, so it’s difficult to look past what he’s got this season.

“Whatever your technique, if you are batting that many balls, you are doing something right, so I’m delighted for him, having taken him to Warwickshire. But his selection will come down to Ed Smith and James Taylor.

“You have to go for the players who can deal with the stresses of Test cricket because that is as important as anything.

“We have some good young players in the country, but are we playing in the right conditions which will help them fully? You could argue probably not.”

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