England batsman Dom Sibley
Cricket can be a thankless game at times – Dom Sibley has found out the hard way.
On the very same day that the England and Warwickshire opener was receiving a bottle of champagne for being named Wisden Cricketer of the Year, he fractured his index finger on his right hand, stalling his plans for a fruitful English summer.
The 25-year-old is not the first player to fracture a finger, in fact he is not even the first England player to do so in 2021, with Ben Stokes having suffered a similar injury but on his left hand two days earlier.
But while England’s World Cup and Ashes hero faces a three-month spell on the sidelines to recover from surgery, Sibley has got off rather more lightly, with a break of four to six weeks and no need for surgery.
Even so, he is already champing at the bit to get back out there.
“It’s getting a little bit better,” said Sibley, speaking on behalf of the Lord’s Taverners who have announced a game changing £2m partnership with the ECB for the Super1s disability cricket programme.
“It’s a bit frustrating but hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be back training, or in the next week or so. Touch wood it heals well.
“Luckily, I did not need to have surgery so I missed the game just gone and the Durham game as well, but it’s a case of playing it by ear really. I saw that Stokesy had his surgery and I think the guy that looked at mine was the same guy.
“With a fracture it’s four to six weeks so we’ll play it by ear in the next couple of weeks to see if I feel up to playing. But I suppose it is down to me to see how it reacts when I get into a net.
“It’s one of those things, because you can walk around and go running, you think ‘I should be playing cricket’ but it’s pretty sore at the moment.”
Sibley had been keen to rack up the runs early this summer after a difficult tour of Sri Lanka and India.
Speaking to a lot of guys, they said they have not seen conditions as tough as India
He was far from alone in struggling on the sub-continent, particularly in the final three Tests in India where England were skittled time and again, but only Jack Leach scored fewer runs of those to play all four Tests.
And Sibley admits that it was the sort of tour that you must learn from, even if there is the excuse of the extreme conditions.
He added: “It was obviously disappointing not to win the series after winning the first Test but give India credit, they played really well and to win the last three was a great achievement from them. On our part it was disappointing because it would have been amazing to win over there. From a personal point of view, it was a great experience, obviously a very tough experience as well. There are lots of learnings from it and hopefully in the future I will be better off dealing with those conditions wherever that may be.
“I think that is (the toughest I’ve faced). Speaking to a lot of guys and people who have played at that level in the past as well, they said they have not seen conditions as tough as that.”
Those struggles leave Sibley in an interesting position in the England set-up, averaging just over 30 from 18 Tests.
With his plan for early season runs scuppered by this finger injury, Sibley acknowledges that his international ambitions will have to take a back seat for now, with England due to face New Zealand in the first Test of the summer at Edgbaston at the start of June.
He added: “I’m not looking too far ahead, I don’t want to get too excited with the finger injury, I’d probably just want to try and get back playing for Warwickshire as soon as possible and scoring runs for Warwickshire.
“Whatever comes from that, comes from that. I try not to look too far ahead and excited about anything because nothing is a given. I’m just focusing on getting fit and getting back out on the park with Warwickshire.”
While that is true, there is an Ashes series coming up this winter and Sibley is only too aware of it.
He concluded: “I’m not looking too far ahead but the Ashes is something I’ve not played in with England and something as a kid when you grow up watching cricket. I fell in love with cricket watching that 2005 Ashes series so it is something you want to be involved in when you become a professional. To be involved in that would be a dream come true, but it would be dangerous to look too far ahead and get sucked into that. There’s a lot of cricket to be played between now and then.”
For more information about the life changing Super1s disability cricket programme and the work of the Lord’s Taverners, please visit lordstaverners.org
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