Slimline Sibley! England opener Dom dared to go against the West Indies after dropping nearly TWO STONES in lockdown … and admitting that Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler running after training in Sri Lanka inspired him to get in shape come
- Dom Sibley opens the batting for England against the West Indies in the first test
- The series airs Wednesday in the Ageas bowl
- The 24-year-old admits that fitness has been keeping him busy for over a year
- Sibley was inspired by England teammates on a tour of Sri Lanka in 2018
- He was nicknamed ‘The Fridge’ after the American footballer William Perry
Dom Sibley has revealed how the sight of teammates jogging in the heat and humidity of Sri Lanka led him to lose nearly two stones.
Sibley, who opens the batting for England in Wednesday’s first test against the West Indies in the Ageas Bowl, admitted that he had become ‘self-conscious’ about his physique, which had earned him the nickname ‘The Fridge’, after the busty American footballer William Perry. And when the tour ended in March after less than two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, he decided to use lockdown to get himself in shape.
At 6ft 3in, 24-year-old Sibley has always cut an impressive figure by the fold, though not quite as he would have liked. Now encouraged by English management, he has used the free time to cut back on luxury food and drink and refine his fitness. It now weighs about 14 stone. The Zoom call that the ECB organized on Monday even involved cheekbones.
Dom Sibley lost two pounds during the lockdown after concentrating on his fitness
“We all like a little treat after a few runs, but it’s great to be a little more disciplined,” he said. “It has been difficult, but it is good to feel the benefits now. I lost 12 kg on the scales.
“You look at the boys who have been in the system for a long time. Stokesy is a bit of a freak when it comes to his training. It saw him, Root and Buttler running after a session in Colombo. I remember I was absolutely spent, so that was a real eye opener.
‘In Sri Lanka, for the first time in my career, I felt a little self-conscious about my physique and weight. I remember sitting on an airplane thinking I had to do something.
“I’ve always been someone who wasn’t necessarily the strongest in the squad and I’ve always walked the coast in that regard, whether in Surrey or Warwickshire. I’ve tapped the shoulder before and haven’t really done anything about it. That wake-up call was late and a good lesson for me. ‘
Sibley has slimmed down from November (left) to now before the Test’s English return
“People have said I look different, which is nice, but in terms of batting, it’s a matter of doing what I’ve always tried to do: making long spells. Hopefully I can be a bit fitter because of that. ‘
Against the West Indies, Sibley will resume his old Surrey alliance with Rory Burns and plans to build on a first international winter that started slowly in New Zealand before taking up steam in South Africa, where his unbeaten 133 England’s momentous victory in the second test in Cape Town.
He’s only played six tests, it’s true, but an embryonic average of 40 turned out to be greater than any of the other openers England tried in the years of trying to find a partner for Alastair Cook. Now, in a way, he will have to start all over again as cricket embarks on an era of international matches behind closed doors.
Sibley had been nicknamed ‘The Fridge,’ referring to NFL star William Perry who adopted a similar nickname throughout his career. He was shown in London in 1996
Sibley made an impression in January against South Africa, where he made his first test century
“If you don’t play for a long time, there will be some nerves,” he said. “But it is comforting to know that everyone will have them too. I will try to trust what I have done in South Africa against a good attack and thereby show that I belong at this level. ‘
Sibley fully expects a pepper from the West Indian speeds, especially after the South Africans exploited his tendency to hit the ball in the air from his hip. To make matters worse, Jofra Archer got him stuck behind his leg during the English game within the team last week.
“The best thing about Test cricket is that you always have new challenges, and suddenly my strength turns into a way to get me out,” he said. “That’s another challenge I have to overcome.”