England opener Dom Sibley will return to action for Warwickshire against Essex from Thursday after more than a month out with a broken finger.
Sibley fractured the middle finger of his right hand while dropping a catch in the second round of the County Championship against Nottinghamshire and has missed the Bears’ last three Group 1 fixtures.
He was still included in England’s 15-man squad for the two-Test series at home to New Zealand next month and will now hope to impress in what will be his sole outing before the opening Test at Lord’s on June 2.
Sibley struggled for runs in Sri Lanka and India this winter with just two fifties in 12 innings and eight single-figure scores but has been given a vote of confidence by head coach Chris Silverwood.
Silverwood said: “Sibbers has been exceptional for us opening the batting so we’ll keep an eye on his fitness. There are plenty of miles in the bank for him, so to speak.
“We’ve played Sibley, Rory Burns and Zak Crawley at one, two and three and it’s been very successful. I can see a situation where all three potentially go back into their places.”
James Bracey is the other top-three option in the England squad, besides Sibley, Burns and Crawley, with the 24-year-old called-up after scoring 478 runs at an average over 50 for Gloucestershire this season.
The left-hander will play for his county against Somerset this week as the top two in Group 2 go head to head in Bristol – table-topping Gloucestershire are four points clear of Somerset and have played one game fewer.
Among the other England players in action will be Lancashire’s James Anderson, who is eight wickets away from 1,000 in first-class cricket heading into the Red Rose’s Group 3 game at Northamptonshire.
Watch Surrey vs Middlesex live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Thursday.
The first Test between England and New Zealand is live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Wednesday, June 2.
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