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Sibley ready for Tri-series challenge

By Glen Robertson

Dominic Sibley, who in September became the youngest English cricketer to hit a first-class double-hundred since the legendary WG Grace, is targeting tri-series victory as England step up their preparations for the Under-19 World Cup.

A 17-man squad is in the United Arab Emirates ahead of the former competition with the hosts and Pakistan, who won the summer rubber in England that also included Bangladesh.

With the World Cup taking place in the UAE during February, Sibley is determined to ensure England head to the finals on the back of a winning series, which they start versus the hosts tomorrow in Abu Dhabi.

“We want to win the Tri-series,” he told ecb.co.uk. “Pakistan won the Tri-series (in the summer) and it’d be great if we can try and win the series and beat them to do it.

Dominic Sibley, pictured impressing on the EDP tour to South Africa earlier this year, is eager to stake his claim for a World Cup spot“We’ll be able to get used to the conditions before we’re there for the World Cup so hopefully that will stand us in great stead for when we go back out there in February.”

It is Sibley’s second consecutive winter tour with the England Development Programme, having gone to South Africa earlier in the year.

He hit a second-innings fifty as England won the first Test at Newlands, Cape Town, by 107 runs and an unbeaten 112 in the second Test, which the hosts emerged from as victors.

Sibley has fond memories from South Africa but wants to surpass those with an overall victory in the UAE.

“When we won the Test match at Newlands, that was one of the best feelings I’ve had on a cricket pitch as a team," he said. "I got a hundred in the second Test match, so those are the two highlights of the tour.

“The one-day series wasn’t great - we got beat 5-0 - but I reckon some of the stuff we learnt from that we can use this time.

“Hopefully I can contribute to the team winning games. If the team are winning games and I’m not scoring runs that’s still great but obviously it’s nice to score some runs as well.”

Sibley hopes to round off a phenomenal year with success abroad and secure his place in the World Cup squad. The teenager has already made his first-class debut, hit 242 versus Yorkshire in the LV= County Championship and signed a two-year deal with Surrey.

“If I could go to the World Cup and we could win it then that would top off a pretty good year for me,” he said, slightly downplaying his achievements. “It would be incredible; it’s a shame it’s not taking place in 2013 but then it could all have been in the one year.

“We’re not even too sure on the final 15 to go out there - you have to get picked first - but if I do that will be a great. It’ll be a dream come true to play at the World Cup.”

On his new contract, he added: “It’s great. I signed with Tom Curran; I’ve spent a lot of time with him over the summer and to sign at the same team with somebody you get on really well with is great.

“I’m looking forward to my future with Surrey and I’ve got two full years after I’ve left school so I can’t wait to start.”

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