Not the fittest cricketer by his own admission, England opener Dom Sibley says the abandoned Sri Lanka tour was a “wake-up call” for him, motivating him to lose 12kg during the COVID-19 lockdown for a more agile and less injury-prone body.
England were forced to cancel the two-Test series in Sri Lanka in March and fly back home after ending their second practice game midway due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sibley said looking at his teammates going through the grind made him self-conscious and he lost 12 kg during the coronavirus-forced break.
“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’,” the six-footer was quoted as saying by local media here in an online press conference organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
“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.”
‘Losing weight might help my agility’
The 24-year-old, who has played six Tests for England so far, said he “hasn’t necessarily been the fittest in the squad”.
“I think it was overdue having that wake-up call and a good lesson for me, regardless of whether it leads to runs,” said Sibley, who had scored an unbeaten 133 against South Africa in January this year.
“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.”
Sibley, who will be opening for England alongside Rory Burns, said he has done everything possible to be in good shape for the Test series against the West Indies starting on Wednesday.
“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 said.
The three-Test series, which will mark the resumption of international cricket, begins at the Ageas Bowl.