England players must raise game in Stokes’ absence, says Sibley
LONDON (Reuters) – England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be missed in the remaining two test matches against Pakistan and players must step up in the absence of the 29-year-old to add balance to the team, opening batsman Dom Sibley said.
Stokes has been ruled out of the two matches at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton for family reasons and the England and Wales Cricket Board said he would shortly fly to New Zealand, the country of his birth.
“He’s a massive part of our team and one of the best players in the world but family comes first and we’re supporting him with everything that is going on,” Sibley told reporters ahead of the second test, which begins on Thursday.
“We’ll have to make do in his absence and people will have to step up.”
England sealed an unlikely three-wicket victory in the first test after slumping to 117-5 at one point in their chase of 277 runs.
“Winning the last game was brilliant and the balance of that side was the way we had it for the West Indies series. I’m not sure (who will come in for Stokes), I just train hard and do my thing to score as many runs as possible,” Sibley added.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of wicket we’ve got in Southampton… the conditions at Manchester were more suitable to their attack than what they might get here.
“They showed they have an impressive attack. They’ve got all the variety and the skills so we’ll have to be at our best to be able to cope with them.”
Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council fined England paceman Stuart Broad 15% of his match fee for breaching its code of conduct during the first test.
Broad was found guilty of “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his/her dismissal.”
The sanction was proposed by match referee Chris Broad, who happens to be the bowler’s father.