First team coach Mark Robinson believes Warwickshire batsman Dom Sibley made "a brave decision and the right decision" to stay in Birmingham this winter.
Sibley declined a place in the England Lions squad shadowing the senior Ashes party in Australia so that he could devote some solid time to his batting with the Bears coaches at Edgbaston.
His mission is to recapture the form which earned him 22 Test matches for England. At 26, the opener clearly has his best batting years – and potentially many more Tests – ahead of him.
Sibley has the talent and technique to succeed at the top level, as two Test centuries and five half-centuries testify. He also, insists Robinson, has the temperament and determination to overcome the sort of blip which affects most long international careers at some point.
“Sibs is very clear about what he wants his batting to look like,” the coach said. “He wants to get back to where he was in 2018 and 2019 from a technical point of view and is in at Edgbaston at the moment working very hard with the coaches every day.
“He made a brave decision and the right decision to stay in England because it would have been very hard to do all this work in a competitive environment.Mark Robinson
“Now this is selfish time for Sibs; time for him to work with the coaches away from the limelight and away from that goldfish bowl and all the scrutiny and a lot of unfair comment which comes with it at times. He can try things out and get things wrong or right without scrutiny. I am sure he will get back to where he wants to be. In my brief time working with Sibs, I have been ever so impressed by him.”
A measure of Sibley’s skills and character came when he returned to Warwickshire’s team late last season after being dropped by England. He came back to the Bears just as their championship quest reached a critical stage with victory needed from each of the last two games.
He responded with match-shaping runs in both; a crucial 45 in a low-scoring match against Yorkshire at Headingley and then two half-centuries, each at exactly the tempo his team needed, against Somerset at Edgbaston.
How much that helping the Bears win the title meant to Sibley, and the affection felt towards him by his team-mates, was crystal clear from the celebrations after that momentous final day against Somerset.
“To come back to us late in the season, having been through what he had been through with England, and contribute what he did to the two wins we needed was outstanding,” said Robinson. “He is just a very impressive bloke.”
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