Wednesday, March 22, 2023

I was never picking Dom Sibley for this India series: Robert Key on the opener being axed for the third Test

Former England batsman Robert Key recently gave his opinion on opener Dom Sibley’s axing ahead of the third Test against India. England’s squad for the third Test saw Chris Silverwood drop Sibley and Zak Crawley as the hosts aim to bounce back in the series.

Robert Key supported the decision by saying Dom Sibley’s upside is not great enough. Sibley made scores of 18, 28, 11, and 0 in four innings against India. Overall, he averages only 28.94 from 22 Tests, managing 1042 runs, with two centuries.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Robert Key revealed he was already not in favour of picking Sibley, who does not play counter-attacking cricket. Key urged every England batsman to play the way Joe Root does as blocking balls against this Indian team won’t work. Key said:

“I was never picking Sibley in this series. I know this sounds harsh but he doesn’t play cricket the way I think you should do. You have to be able to counterpunch. You have to be able to throw something back to the bowler. It’s not just about hanging around and trying to take the shine off the ball. His [Sibley] upside is not great enough.”

Key added:

“England have to mirror their captain Joe Root and the way he plays. That’s not easy to do as he is one of the best players England have ever had but you can’t just go out there and block your way to beating this India team. It’s not going to work.”

This is the best Indian team I’ve seen come to England: Robert Key

England v India - Second LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Five
England v India – Second LV= Insurance Test Match: Day Five

Robert Key says England’s top order has to take those calculated risks in the third Test. The Kent batsman acknowledged the current Indian side as the best to visit English shores as they have all their bases covered.

“You can’t just look to survive, you have to come out swinging. That doesn’t mean slogging but it means having a go and going toe-to-toe with this India team. Then you might have a chance. This is the best Indian team I’ve seen come to England. Forget about the fact England aren’t in the place in Test cricket they were a few years ago. This is a proper Indian team.”

England lost the second Test in Lord’s by 151 runs on Day Five after being in control from the start. Their bowling tactics against the Indian tailenders followed by an insipid batting performance led to their collapse.


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