What can we learn from Dom Sibley’s not-very-exuberant hundred celebration?

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Late in the morning session of day two of the second Test between England and the West Indies, Dom Sibley once again awoke from his fitful batting slumbers and actually hit the ball.

This particular diversion from his default approach of not hitting the ball took him to a 312-ball hundred.

Sibley duly celebrated.

Slightly.

As he completed a third run, Sibley went to do the athletic air punch thing.

You know the one. It’s like a sort of skipping upper cut. You kick things off by getting into the rodeo rider position.

It’s an exuberant move. Because you’re swinging your arm and pivoting your body, there tends to be quite a lot of momentum. This sometimes results in an actual, genuine “jump for joy” at the climax.

At the very least, it tends to look like the violent chinning of a ghost. And if you’re Jonny Bairstow or Virat Kohli you follow up with an adrenal roar.

What Sibley did was slightly different.

Sibley basically commenced an athletic air punch and then immediately reined it in, attempting to downgrade it to a clenched fist.

He ended up here: arm tight to his body, resolutely earthbound.

And then he constricted still further.

For a moment, it seemed like he might continue down this road until he was fully foetal.

But instead, he took off his helmet, looked slightly relieved and walked very sedately towards Ben Stokes for a mellow-yet-chirpy fist bump.

What can we learn from this?

Well, you wouldn’t say that Dom Sibley is a man liable to let his emotions override his judgement.

Dom Sibley appears to be a man who would only ever allow his emotions to take control if they could first make a very compelling argument that the specific thing they wished to do was objectively preferable to what he would have been doing otherwise.

27 comments

  1. This is liquid cricket. 500 ball partnership, grey skies, occasional bursts of sunshine.

    I’d love to be currently sipping a pint of whatever they have left after all the good beer sold out by 11.45, rather than sipping a water and trying to work whilst following the game.

    1. You should have split the difference and had a few good beers before 11.45am before continuing with your work.

  2. I return to a point made previously about the artificial crowd hubbub. At the very least there should be a “significant thing” button that could be pressed to generate a Western Terrace style cheer in the event of a significant thing.

  3. This whole batting line up seems to be unsure of itself – the Sibley celebration thing is a case in point. It’s as if they are more concerned with appearing to do the right thing than with just letting go.

    Michael Holding said today that selfishness was not something any team cricketer should possess, but I think he’s lying. There has to be a balance between personal drive and fully subsuming yourself into a team. All sportsmen need a bit of adulation, surely. I’m not suggesting that they go full Boycott, but they can’t disappear into a collective either.

    I never played cricket to any serious level, but I did play rugby. And a win that came from anywhere was something to celebrate. But a win that came from my own moments of (relative) magic was something else entirely. It’s that balance that allows a batsman to enjoy the moment from a purely personal perspective, but that also makes them aware of the match situation

    Sibley played superbly today, and yesterday, and should have yelled “Look at me, world” when he got his ton. And he tried a bit of acceleration as well, and he got out. That is also great, unselfish cricket. But I got the distinct impression that his muted celebration was him trying to fit into the mould of the modern cricketing ideal – the team player who has no thought for himself. I just think that, as with Michael Holding, it’s a lie.

    1. We saw that bit and agree with you. It was an unnuanced answer from Holding. Maybe it was the question.

  4. Does anyone understand how this 3 Team Cricket business works?

    I don’t mean ‘do any of the regular commenters on this website understand’, I mean ‘does anyone understand’?

    From the BBC:
    A match is played between three teams of eight players
    36 overs in two halves of 18 overs
    One innings of 12 overs each per team
    Bat and bowl to one opponent in each half for six overs
    After the seventh wicket the last batter stands alone
    Maximum of three overs per bowler to either opponent
    The team with the most runs wins

    I think that means there are 6 chunks of 6 overs:

    1) A bowl to B
    2) B bowl to C
    3) C bowl to A
    4) A bowl to C
    5) B bowl to A
    6) C bowl to B

    But the more I read the less I seem to understand

    1. The designated fielding positions, and limited number of fielders, are really going to tire out the team bowling (although it looks like a smaller outfield size).

      The commentators are complaining about the run-rate being too loe after 4 balls though, that doesn’t bode well…

      I think I would stand a better chance of understanding it if less time was given over to explaining how simple the format was, and more time was given over to explaining what was going on.

    2. I thought it would be one team batting and the other two teams fielding at the same time. I’m disappointed.

      1. “After seventh wicket the not-out batter stands alone” is by far our favourite rule.

        Presumably everyone else exits the field – including the bowling team(s) and they just stand there looking lonely.

      1. To be fair, it seems like a format designed for schools, where perhaps it’s hard to get players and where there might only be one school in the area with facilities.

        I can’t say it was much of a spectacle for the spectator (I only watched the first half, ie 18 overs), but I suspect that would be similar for some other formats if they were shorn of any context, with ‘teams’ created just for the day, and with nothing really on the line.

        Mark Nicholas popping up on Skype every once in a while to over-enthuse didn’t really sell it to me, either.

        I’ll be surprised if ‘Stokes’ Spitfires’ are facing off against ‘Jos’ Juggernauts’ and ‘Jofra’s Giants’ any time soon.

  5. Ben stokes is a quarantine menace! He gave sibley a big, sweaty hug. Later there’s a clip of dom Bess celebrating a wicket. He tries to fist bump stokes who guns straight for full sweaty palm hi 5s.

  6. Here come the Jos Buttler arguments….

    ‘He didn’t make enough runs in the second Test’
    ‘But both times we was basically told to go out and slog so you can’t blame him’
    ‘But if he’s in the team to score quick runs and twice he didn’t really manage to do that, why is he in the team?’

    Etc

    1. I don’t think there really is an ‘etc.’ to follow that. It’s kind of where the ‘argument’ stops unless you’re Ed Smith.

      1. Fair point Balladeer, but the argument can’t have finished if no-one has said ‘natural game’

  7. Aside from cricket, what other sports could still be described as “delicately poised” at whatever is their equivalent of the situation at the close of play on the 4th day of this Test?

    A side that’s 3-1 down in football yet can still salvage a draw provided their opponent don’t score twice more in the final 20% of the game, because they’re going with some variant of playground-rules “first to five goals wins”?

  8. A 300 ball 100 with only 5 fours!

    Has this pandemic wiped out most of the world population and someone did a hard reset to the 1970s, Windows-style?

    Someone tell me what’s happening.

    1. You’re absolutely right. That’s exactly what happened. That’s why they’re all wearing sweat bands.

    1. Cricket, eh?

      I had virtually given up on this match around 17:00 yesterday. Broad, Stokes and the rest thought differently and grabbed the game by the scrotum.

      1. They really did. One of the best England wins in recent memory I reckon. This Windies side is no pushover.

      2. …grabbed the game by the scrotum.

        Is it just me, or has there been a lot more incidents of full-on bullseyes in this regard in these two tests? I’m not keeping an official count, I should add, but I can think of four batsmen reduced to curled-up agony on the floor, and didn’t a short leg get one as well?

        Assuming that this is a thing, and not just my fading recollection, is there a reason? Is it batsmen being too keen to pull on pitches with variable bounce? Is it bowlers keeping a tighter line than in previous years, less in the channel outside off and more trying to cramp the batsman for space? Or is it a deliberate thing, the result of years of video analysts work, concluding that this particular batsman has a weakness around his bollocks?

        Whatever it is, it did at least give us an LBW (BBW) shout yesterday that was referred to the third umpire, and some stifled chuckling in the commentary box when he asked for “ball tracking”. Not as funny as Mike Atherton in the first test, but nonetheless amusing.

  9. Phil Simmons : “ It’s critical that our batsmen carry on and make big hundreds. Stokes made 176, what’s-his-name 120-odd“.

    Cruel.

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