County news December 12, 2014

Concerns grow over Kieswetter's career

Matt Maynard has admitted that Craig Kieswetter's career could be in jeopardy as a result of the eye injury he sustained in July.

Kieswetter announced his withdrawal from professional cricket on Wednesday to gain further treatment and assessment. Although he returned to county cricket before the end of the county season and has just completed a spell in South African domestic cricket, he has conceded that his ability to perform has been compromised and is now seeking a permanent solution to the issue. As a consequence, he was replaced in England 30-man provisional World Cup squad by Kent's Sam Billings.

Now Maynard, Somerset's new director cricket, has conceded that while Kieswetter will be given every assistance by the club, the player remains anxious over his future.

"There are concerns about his playing career, yes," Maynard told ESPNcricinfo. "The worrying question is whether he will ever recover 100% of his vision.

"He will see some world-class eye specialists in the near future. We are fortunate in that, during his time with England, his eyes were thoroughly tested so we will be able to compare and contrast how they were then and how they are now.

"There are no plans for an operation at this stage and I imagine surgery would be the last option. But that's a decision for the specialists.

"There is no time frame on his return at all. If it turns out to be May, then great. If it's August then fine and if it's at the start of 2015, then that is okay, too. We will put him under no pressure and help him get the very best treatment. Then, when he is ready to return, we will welcome him back with open arms."

While Kieswetter initially appeared to have made a good recovery from the incident, he admitted at the time that his vision was not 100% and has since grown concerned by the lack of progress.

"He came back and played well against Middlesex and that knock gave him a lot of confidence," Maynard said. "He thought his sight would continue to improve, but instead the progress has stagnated.

"He could probably still go out there and average 35, which might be enough for other players. But he sets himself very high standards, he is desperate to play for England again and he wants to get this problem resolved so he can return to his best again."

Kieswetter's absence leaves Somerset looking short of batsmen. While the club have signed Jim Allenby from Glamorgan, they have also lost Nick Compton and Chris Jones in recent months and remain over-reliant upon having retired and Marcus Trescothick, who will be 39 later this month. They also lost Jos Buttler to Lancashire at the end of the 2013 season.

"If an opening batsman became available now then, yes, we would probably be interested," Maynard said. "But there is not a lot of chance of that in the short-term.

"Alex Barrow did a really good job when he came into the side last year and I have every confidence in him as our keeper. James Regan [the reserve keeper] also looks an exciting young cricketer, so we are not in the market for another keeper. And it will be good to give our younger batsmen, the likes of Tom Abell, more of an opportunity.

"The way I see it, there was always a good chance we could lose Craig to England. Just as we could lose the likes of the Overtons or Lewis Gregory. So we have to cope with that and hope it provides opportunity to other players in the squad."

But former keeper Steve Snell, who recently re-joined the club in a coaching role, will not be considered as a replacement for Kieswetter.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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