England news July 13, 2010

Flower urges Kieswetter to come back stronger

21

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • on July 14, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    what a batsman haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • on July 14, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    what a batsman haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • Aussiesfalling on July 14, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    Kieswetter has not been successful as a pinch-hitter, scoring no quicker than a run a ball in ODIs. In T20WC England's quick starts were down to Lumb. A 12 match run as opener is a very long run for anyone and a summer's average of 15 unacceptable. Matt Prior was given a run of 6 ODIs as opener in 2008, averaged 32 and was then dropped down the order. Prior should be restored to the opening role. Kieswetter is not in the same class as Prior with either bat or gloves.

  • landl47 on July 14, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    Players like Kieswetter often are inconsistent as young cricketers. A good example is Virender Sehwag, who was very hit and miss at the start of his career and went on to become a great batsman. Don't expect too much too soon, and don't put him in the test side until he improves his consisyency, but in a few years he'll be a real asset to England.

  • jackiethepen on July 14, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    Kieswetter is a sitting duck at the moment as anyone can see with eyes open. 50-over cricket is NOT Twenty20. Crucial mistake by Flower. I just hope a very young man is not affected by being overexposed too soon. When will cricket learn that a willingness to attack the ball does not translate into runs without 1, talent and skill and practice, 2, cricket brain to read the conditions. Bell and Strauss showed the youngsters how to read the pitch and lead a team to victory. At this moment in time Kies hasn't got the technique to open and face the new ball in 50-over cricket, let only Test cricket. But he's very young and has a great system in England to learn the game. Lucky lad to have the longer form of the game in County cricket, so maligned and so vital. What's for sure he won't learn it in Twenty20.

  • JayMOAdelaide on July 14, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    Here is an idea. How about breeding your own cricketers rather than importing from other nations. Hasn't done much for your football team having so many imports in the Premier League (or the country for that matter)

  • simon_w on July 14, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    I hope Kiesy can come up with the goods. His potential justifies the treatment he's getting, even though I do feel desperately sorry for Matt Prior, who has done everything right and finds himself on the sidelines. But if Kieswetter can deliver on most or all of that promise, it will have proven to have been the right course. I do think that these two ODI series, though, have shown conclusively that it's too early to get him into Test Cricket - is batting is very effective in T20s, and in ODIs on flat-tracks where there's little movement, but his technique has been exposed a little, and would only be more so in the Test arena. His 'keeping seems to have improved, though, too, which is great.

  • on July 14, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    It's interesting about wicket-keepers opening the batting in ODI's. Nearly all top cricketing countries are copying the trend that Gilchrist was famous for. You have Paine/Haddin for Australia opening with Watson, Kieswetter for England, Akmal for Pakistan and McCullum for New Zealand.

  • Munkeymomo on July 14, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    @vikramreddytric there has been more than that mate! Davies, Ambrose and of course Collingwood! haha. He is good though and I hope he scores a load for somerset while hes back with us for the 2020. He may do well in the subcontinent with less movement in the air, though he struggled in the champions league last year. As mentioned, he is only young, really hope he does well in the future.

  • RAVI_BOPARA on July 13, 2010, 23:56 GMT

    I WOULD STICK WITH KIESWETTER... I WOULD ALSO INCLUDE HIM FOR THE TESTS AGAINST PAKISTAN TOO WHICH WILL GIVE HIM MORE CONFIDENCE AND WILL MAKE HIM AN EVEN BETTER CRICKETER. PRIOR SHOULD BE 2nd CHOICE FROM NOW ON!!

  • northumbriannomad on July 13, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    Good luck to him. There's a tendency to expect instant results, and to dismiss people too quickly after a run of poor form. He has the talent, and I'm sure he'll come through and do well.

  • Cric.Analysis on July 13, 2010, 19:31 GMT

    Flower has to be a bit cautious here. The current English team does not have many match winners and hence Kieswetter should be handled with care.

  • vikramreddytric on July 13, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    I think Kieswetter is the best Wicket Keeper England has got at the moment. He is very talented and he has proved it in World T20. England has not got a proper Wicket Keeper/Batsman after Alec Stewart. They have tried more than half a dozen Keepers till then as I remember(Geraint Jones, Chris Read, Paul Nixon, Matt Prior and now Kieswetter). Among these Players only Geraint Jones is OK other than Kieswetter. Its too early to put lot of pressure on this young kid. I am sure he will come back strongly in the future and will be played for a very long time. ALL THE BEST BUDDY.

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  • vikramreddytric on July 13, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    I think Kieswetter is the best Wicket Keeper England has got at the moment. He is very talented and he has proved it in World T20. England has not got a proper Wicket Keeper/Batsman after Alec Stewart. They have tried more than half a dozen Keepers till then as I remember(Geraint Jones, Chris Read, Paul Nixon, Matt Prior and now Kieswetter). Among these Players only Geraint Jones is OK other than Kieswetter. Its too early to put lot of pressure on this young kid. I am sure he will come back strongly in the future and will be played for a very long time. ALL THE BEST BUDDY.

  • Cric.Analysis on July 13, 2010, 19:31 GMT

    Flower has to be a bit cautious here. The current English team does not have many match winners and hence Kieswetter should be handled with care.

  • northumbriannomad on July 13, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    Good luck to him. There's a tendency to expect instant results, and to dismiss people too quickly after a run of poor form. He has the talent, and I'm sure he'll come through and do well.

  • RAVI_BOPARA on July 13, 2010, 23:56 GMT

    I WOULD STICK WITH KIESWETTER... I WOULD ALSO INCLUDE HIM FOR THE TESTS AGAINST PAKISTAN TOO WHICH WILL GIVE HIM MORE CONFIDENCE AND WILL MAKE HIM AN EVEN BETTER CRICKETER. PRIOR SHOULD BE 2nd CHOICE FROM NOW ON!!

  • Munkeymomo on July 14, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    @vikramreddytric there has been more than that mate! Davies, Ambrose and of course Collingwood! haha. He is good though and I hope he scores a load for somerset while hes back with us for the 2020. He may do well in the subcontinent with less movement in the air, though he struggled in the champions league last year. As mentioned, he is only young, really hope he does well in the future.

  • on July 14, 2010, 0:41 GMT

    It's interesting about wicket-keepers opening the batting in ODI's. Nearly all top cricketing countries are copying the trend that Gilchrist was famous for. You have Paine/Haddin for Australia opening with Watson, Kieswetter for England, Akmal for Pakistan and McCullum for New Zealand.

  • simon_w on July 14, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    I hope Kiesy can come up with the goods. His potential justifies the treatment he's getting, even though I do feel desperately sorry for Matt Prior, who has done everything right and finds himself on the sidelines. But if Kieswetter can deliver on most or all of that promise, it will have proven to have been the right course. I do think that these two ODI series, though, have shown conclusively that it's too early to get him into Test Cricket - is batting is very effective in T20s, and in ODIs on flat-tracks where there's little movement, but his technique has been exposed a little, and would only be more so in the Test arena. His 'keeping seems to have improved, though, too, which is great.

  • JayMOAdelaide on July 14, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    Here is an idea. How about breeding your own cricketers rather than importing from other nations. Hasn't done much for your football team having so many imports in the Premier League (or the country for that matter)

  • jackiethepen on July 14, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    Kieswetter is a sitting duck at the moment as anyone can see with eyes open. 50-over cricket is NOT Twenty20. Crucial mistake by Flower. I just hope a very young man is not affected by being overexposed too soon. When will cricket learn that a willingness to attack the ball does not translate into runs without 1, talent and skill and practice, 2, cricket brain to read the conditions. Bell and Strauss showed the youngsters how to read the pitch and lead a team to victory. At this moment in time Kies hasn't got the technique to open and face the new ball in 50-over cricket, let only Test cricket. But he's very young and has a great system in England to learn the game. Lucky lad to have the longer form of the game in County cricket, so maligned and so vital. What's for sure he won't learn it in Twenty20.

  • landl47 on July 14, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    Players like Kieswetter often are inconsistent as young cricketers. A good example is Virender Sehwag, who was very hit and miss at the start of his career and went on to become a great batsman. Don't expect too much too soon, and don't put him in the test side until he improves his consisyency, but in a few years he'll be a real asset to England.