England news July 13, 2010

Flower urges Kieswetter to come back stronger


England's coach, Andy Flower, has challenged Craig Kieswetter to raise his game after a disappointing run of scores during the recent one-day campaign against Australia and Bangladesh, or face the prospect of being dropped for the five ODIs against Pakistan in September that take place after the Test series.

Back in February, the South Africa-born Kieswetter was a controversial inclusion in England's one-day plans, as he was drafted into the squad for the tour of Bangladesh, only days after completing his residency qualification, on the strength of a matchwinning half-century for the England Lions in a warm-up match in Abu Dhabi.

He justified that leap of faith by scoring a maiden ODI hundred in his third match, against Bangladesh in Chittagong, and then went on to play a pivotal role in England's triumphant World Twenty20 campaign in the Caribbean, scoring brisk runs at the top of the order in partnership with Michael Lumb, and sealing the title with a Man-of-the-Match-winning 63 from 49 balls in the final against Australia.

Since then, however, his returns have dropped off. Aside from a quickfire 69 against Scotland, he managed 121 runs at 15.12 in eight ODIs against Australia and Bangladesh, and at a tepid strike-rate of 77.07. His highest score in that period was the 38 from 44 balls he scored in the first ODI against the Aussies at the Rose Bowl, while a susceptibility to the moving ball was underlined at Edgbaston on Monday, when he was bowled by Mashrafe Mortaza for a duck, the fourth time his stumps had been rattled in that period.

"Craig has had an interesting time of it recently," said Flower. "He's gone from scoring a hundred in his third ODI, to getting the Man of the Match award in the Twenty20 World Cup final, and being a World Cup winner, when a lot of English players haven't [achieved that]. So he's up there doing that and achieving that, and then he's had a bit of a hard one-day series. But international cricket can do that to you. It can teach you some lessons and perhaps expose a few doubts."

Given that he is still only 22, Kieswetter's talent and promise for the future is undisputed, but with a World Cup fast approaching in February next year, Flower is aware of a certain urgency to settle England's gameplan if they are to emerge as genuine contenders for the title. First and foremost, the onus is on Kieswetter to decide how he wants to craft his innings, and with a two-month hiatus before the one-day squad reassembles in September, Flower has told him that the hard work starts now.

"I think in the long run for Craig it might be a very healthy thing to have happened, in that by the time he plays for England again, he'll need to have made his package stronger," Flower said. "There are a number of things he can learn from the last nine one-day internationals, and it is his job and responsibility to go away, work hard with Somerset and come back a stronger package.

"He's got to work it out for himself, obviously with some help on the way," Flower added. "He's got a good coach at Somerset in Andy Hurry, and some good people to work with like [Marcus] Trescothick, and it's the same in our set-up, where Graham Gooch has been working with him recently. All those guys might help, but it's up to Craig to find his method."

His method was pretty uncomplicated at first. Kieswetter was chosen as England's one-day wicketkeeper ahead of the previous incumbent, Matt Prior, because of his proven ability to pierce the field in the Powerplay overs, particularly with his booming drives up and over the covers. But he's had less opportunity to display that trait in recent matches, during which time his opening partner Andrew Strauss has shown him that crease occupation is the best means of racking up a score in English conditions.

"I don't really use the word pinch-hitter myself, but he's an aggressive opening batsman for us, pretty much in the mould of Jayasuriya or Gilchrist," said Flower. "He's got the capacity to play that type of game, there's no doubt about that, because he's very, very talented, and hits the ball beautifully, as well as I've ever seen anyone hit the ball. But he's got to work out how to score runs. Jayasuriya did it, as an attacking opening bat [and so must he]."

Since being dropped from the one-day side, Prior has been scoring runs for fun in county cricket for Sussex, and Flower hinted that a recall to the limited-overs squad would not be out of the question. "There is a difference in English conditions," he said. "You learn and adjust to the different conditions, that's one option. The other is that we change our tactics in England, and we'll make those decisions closer to the Pakistan series."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on July 15, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    I think he is a great lad to have in your side, Its international cricket and every body has there good and bad times. I am sure he will come out of his recent bad form with the bat he has a long future with England and I am hoping to see him in the IPL sooner then later.

  • 123_4 on July 15, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    @Aussiesfalling, he has already gotten a one-day century to his name, which is more than i can say for many at that age! To add to that, he provides assuarance to the batting line-up, which can be proved by how england is rising so steadfastly. Also, the management know what to choose and if he was performing so poorly they would have dropped him for at least a match. On the other hand Matt prior might be alright fot test but after all the chances england have given him, he hasn't managed anything much! .>.<

  • bumsonseats on July 15, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    seems nobody had a problem with england playing players from so called foreign countries while we had not won a icc competition. but that seemed to change after we did. perhaps the uk is a better country than others to live in. you cannot heap scorn on people wanting to make a better life for themselves and their wives and children. iv been to all the test playing countries and know were i prefer to live. dpk

  • 123_4 on July 15, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    Clearly, Kiewetter has already proved to be ANOTHER key player in the British tam from SOUTH AFRICA. For the people who created this intriguing game, they should be ashamed never to have a complete BRITISH team, not to mention winning the world cup. Every sport they created are being dominated by other contries! Let's hope they can do this with this foriegn team which consists of no less than 4 South African players: Trott, Strauss, Pietersen, Kieswetter & the Irish Morgan!

  • bumsonseats on July 14, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    i think we are expecting to much of him to soon, in 20/20 a quickfire 20/30 can win a match but in 50 overs that may not be the case. in the UK not many pinch hitters have been successful from any country. to be fair i don't think he should have been picked to open if england thought he was the right man to keep wicket then maybe 6/7 should have been his position. i still think if you are a good test player you should be able to play any form of cricket. Strauss played as good an innings as iv see in the last 10 years with not a slog played. the test wicket keeper prior should be the 50 overs side as he is also the best wicket/keeper batsman. dpk

  • ampshare on July 14, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    JayMOAdelaide says - How about breeding your own cricketers? How would that work? Perhaps mating a wrist spinner from the womens team with a batsman who bowls a few seamers. May get a Garry Sobers type.

  • dummy4fb on July 14, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    Kieswetter is class. Class prevails.

  • nickN4 on July 14, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    JayMOAdelaide - care to explain what you mean by "or for the country for that matter"?

  • demon_bowler on July 14, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    He's had enough chances. In the bad old days he would have been dropped after one or two failures, but even today, eight on the trot should mean the chop.

  • dummy4fb on July 14, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    what a batsman haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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