Dom Sibley has pulled out of England Lions’ upcoming trip to Australia, effectively ending his Ashes hopes. Yorkshire’s Harry Brook has been called up as a replacement, with Sibley to “work on his batting at home”.
Warwickshire batsman Sibley played 22 Tests for England before being dropped for the third Test against India in August, but the opener was handed a lifeline when he was invited on tour with the second-string Lions squad. Sibley, who averages 28.94 in his England career but 19.77 since the start of 2021, has now chosen to stay in the UK.
“After much thought and consideration, Warwickshire batter Dom Sibley has made the decision not to tour Australia with the England Lions,” read an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement. “Sibley has decided to spend the winter working on his batting at home in a bid to regain England selection.”
The 26-year-old has made the decision with an eye on reclaiming his Test place, but by removing himself from the set-up he is taking a significant gamble. Sibley’s absence offers a chance for other batsmen who are touring to leapfrog him in the pecking order – including Durham’s Alex Lees and his own opening partner with county champions Warwickshire, Rob Yates.
The 14-strong Lions squad will fly out to Australia on 4 November with the senior side, provide training and warm-up opposition and shadow the early part of the tour as ready-made reserve players. Brook’s call-up is a chance for him to capitalise on a breakout season that saw him named young player of the year by both the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the Cricket Writers’ Club.
The 22-year-old was an eye-catching performer for Northern Superchargers in the inaugural season of The Hundred but also showed his red-ball potential with two centuries and five fifties for Yorkshire in the County Championship.