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Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler inspired me to become fitter and more agile: Dominic Sibley

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Warwickshire opening batsman Dominic Sibley, who has been selected in England‘s 13 man squad for the first Test against the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl starting tomorrow, admitted that the cancellation of the tour to Sri Lanka motivated him to shed 12 kg during the span of lockdown to be more agile on the field and less injury prone.

Sibley said looking at his teammates going through the grind made him self-conscious and he lost 12 kg during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown. The Epsom born top order batsman, who has played 6 Test matches for his country so far, said in a press conference organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board, “In Sri Lanka, for the first time in my career, I felt a little bit self-conscious about my physique and my weight. I just remember sitting on the plane and thinking, ‘I need to do something’. Ben Stokes is a bit of a freak when it comes to his training. Actually, it was seeing him, Root and Buttler running after a session in Colombo. I remember being absolutely spent so that was a real eye-opener. Seeing these guys and the graft they put in to stay at this level for the amount of time they have done, is something that I want to do.”

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Sibley, who scored his maiden Test hundred earlier this year against South Africa in away soil, an unbeaten 133, admitted that he “hasn’t necessarily been the fittest in the squad”. He said, “I think it was overdue having that wake-up call and a good lesson for me, regardless of whether it leads to runs. I’ve never felt tired batting. My fitness has never affected my batting. It’s not necessarily going to improve my batting. But it might help my agility in the field. And carrying less weight might keep me on the park for longer with fewer niggles.”

“If I’d done nothing during lockdown I think I’d have got to here and thought, ‘I haven’t quite ticked every box’. But I feel I’ve trained hard and I’m ready for the series. Success or failure, I feel like I’ve left no stone unturned,” he added.

The 3 Test match series, which will mark the resumption of International Cricket, begins at the Ageas Bowl. Sibley is slated to open the batting alongside former Surrey teammate Rory Burns.