Thursday, 23 February 2012

Is Kieswetter reaching the end of the line?

England have always had an obsession with having big hitting players at the top of the order in limited overs cricket, and those players being wicket-keepers. The first obsession came from the perfectly logical notion of taking advantage in the power-play overs, but the second seems to have no logical basis behind it whatsoever.

The elevation of Craig Kieswetter into the England team, almost exactly two years ago was on the back of an excellent innings for the England Lions against the senior team. He then followed that with a century in his third ODI (albeit against Bangladesh) and a vital role in winning the World T20, when his partnership with Michael Lumb was crucial to bringing home the trophy.

Since then, he's started to be exposed as a one dimensional sort of player, he averages under 30 in ODIs and while an average of 25 in T20s is decent, his strike rate of 122 is good but fairly pedestrian compared to the very best in the format. While he may be adequate in both forms of the game, he has some glaring weaknesses in his game. His wicket-keeping veers between adequate and dreadful, and is never really as good as the likes of Buttler, Bairstow or Davies, the three main candidates for his spot as keeper.

With the new Cook and Pietersen partnership in ODIs looking long term, it surely must be the best time to try it in T20 cricket as well. If that doesn't come off, Alex Hales should be next in line to open with Pietersen, as the man in possession before this tour. Dropping down the order is unlikely to be the solution for Kieswetter as his rotation of the strike isn't good enough to bat in the middle overs. With all the batting and keeping talent around at the moment he just isn't good enough, and should be squeezed out of the team as quickly as possible.

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