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The five county cricketers of the year

It’s time to salute the County Championship’s standout players this season: Sibley, Stevens, Abell, Bopara and Vilas

• The cricketers of the year in 2017• The cricketers of the year in 2018

Dominic Sibley was a schoolboy when he scored a maiden century in his third first-class match for Surrey, enough to make the most jaded of county cricket’s legion of denigrators prick up their ears. He was branded “a talent”, a burden that seemed to grow heavy on his shoulders. He struggled to find an identity at the Oval. I last saw him there bashing and biffing in the T20 before having a bit of a bowl, keen to contribute, but almost too keen, that “talent” label all but visible as it tarnished, Sibley trying to justify it almost minute-by-minute.

Related: When the County Championship went down to the final over of the season

Related: County cricket talking points: Essex and Somerset gave us a special season

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