Now, before I begin my rant, I’d like to make it clear that I don’t think that Craig Kieswetter is a bad player, and he definitely isn’t bad. I just think he certainly isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.
We know of Craig as the 22 year old keeper who is a decent batsman and may well turn out to keep wicket for England, at least in the shorter forms, for the next ten years. You know what? I wouldn’t go that far, if I were you.
Do you remember Alastair ‘Far too slow to be considered for ODI and T20 selection’ Cook? Cook has a domestic T20 strike rate of close to 127.8, so have a guess about what Kieswetter’s is. It has to be about 140 or so, surely? No. It is 124.88. Almost 3 points lower than Cook. And, Kieswetter plays half of his T20 matches on renowned batting paradise Taunton. Cook has an average 0.6 higher, as well!
Don’t tell me it’s because Kieswetter started badly either. Not only was it the same for both players, being young enough to have to work their way into T20, Kieswetter was run out in his first match for 48 at a strike rate of over 140.And don’t worry. I don’t want to bring Matt Prior back to the ODI and T20I side. We need him to stay down at Sussex, if I’m honest with you. I suggest talented 23 year old Steve Davies to replace our newly dethroned king, with the added bonus of him being a better keeper than Craig to boot. Also, with this being something a lot of people care about, Steve Davies is about as English as it is possible to be.
He was born in Bromsgrove, for a start, and has lived in England ever since, so no more grating South African accent to deal with. He was educated in a normal state school, so no incredibly posh accent either. Craig Kieswetter was born in Jo’burg, South Africa, and played under 19 international cricket for South Africa.
I don’t have any agenda on South African players. Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior I accept as English, as they moved here when small and have been fully educated and brought up in Britain. Kevin Pietersen, I accept in the national side. By the rules of the ICC, he counts as eligible to play for England, and as he is better than any truly English player that could be put into the side in his place would be. With Kieswetter, he is possibly a slightly better batsman and a worse wicketkeeper than Davies, and I don’t believe that South African players should be given preference to play over English players for, what is after all, England.
Finally, did Kieswetter really get England off to a thundering start in the T20 World Cup? No. His strike rate throughout the tournament was 116.84. His 25 off 27 balls against Pakistan could have cost England the match, and his 41 off 42 balls against South Africa was also far too slow, or, at least, not the job people keep giving him. From Paul Collingwood, I would have accepted these scores, but his job is, apparently, to go and smash the ball at the start of the innings, and he just hasn’t done that yet. Of that 41 I just mentioned, 24 came in boundaries, off 5 boundaries in total. That leaves us with at least 20 dot balls in that innings. 20 dot balls is one sixth of the innings down the drain.
So, to sum it up, he isn’t English, he can’t score quickly, he makes too many dot balls, he can’t keep too well, there is a readymade replacement and, finally, he’ll almost certainly prove me entirely wrong this summer.