Tony Frost believes that Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley "will fly" at cricket's top level when he settles into the Test match environment.
After a brilliant 2019 season brought him 1,324 championship runs at an average of 69.68, Sibley made his Test debut for England in New Zealand last month.
A big innings eluded him in the two-Test series, with three innings bringing 38 runs, but Bears batting coach Frost is backing the former Surrey player to flourish in the upcoming tour to South Africa and beyond.
I think all the batters will be stronger for having come through last year. There is a step up from Div Two to Div One and it took a little while to adapt but there were some very good signs as the season progressed.Tony Frost
“Sibs will soon get used to the Test environment and the scrutiny – and then he’ll fly,” he said. “He’s got the game and he’s got the temperament.
“He scored a lot of runs against very good bowlers in the championship Division One last season and that’s a measure of his quality. There are good bowlers in Division Two but in Division One it’s more relentless with sometimes four top-class bowlers in an attack. To score as many runs as he did, and face more than 1,000 balls more than anyone else in Division One, is testament to his quality.
“He had a strong back end to the 2018 season and then worked really hard at his game in the winter. His England call-up is fully deserved and he will score runs for England.”
While Sibley dominated Warwickshire’s batting last season, he was not the only success with the bat. His opening partner Will Rhodes delivered another solid season (770 runs at 33.48) while 20-year-old Rob Yates showed immense promise after going straight in at the deep end and then playing 12 championship games.
Yates scored his maiden first-class century, as did Matt Lamb late in the season when he scored a superb 173 against champions-elect Essex at Edgbaston.
“Will Rhodes and Dom Sibley gave us some solid platforms to innings and Rob did brilliantly,” Frost said. “We didn’t protect him but backed him to go in at number three against top bowlers because we knew he has such a good temperament.
“He played some really good innings against top bowlers and is just a pleasure to work with. He wants to learn and get better all the time and that’s a big strength of the group of batters we have at here Warwickshire. There is a real culture of wanting to learn and improve.
“Lamby’s century against Essex showed what he is capable of. He has shown his ability in the 2nd XI for some time but when he went into the first team just needed to work out what was the right tempo in championship cricket. His innings against Essex and the best spinner around, apart from Jeetan Patel, showed there could be a lot more to come from him.
“Overall, I was pleased with the way the batters adapted during what was a difficult season with some freak injuries. Being without Ian Bell for the whole season didn’t help because having someone of his class and experience at the other end helps any batsman.
“Hopefully we will have Belly for the whole season next year and also Adam Hose who missed the 50-over tournament through injury which was a blow to us. Adam showed his white-ball power when he came back and had a good T20. He had his challenges in red-ball cricket but is working hard on a few technical issues this winter.
“Sam Hain had a strong championship season, averaging over 50 and scoring a couple of centuries, and I think all the batters will be stronger for having come through last year. There is a step up from Div Two to Div One and it took a little while to adapt but there were some very good signs as the season progressed.”