Monday, March 8, 2010

Meet Craig Kieswetter – England’s latest South African

"It's something that I'm going to have to put up with for my whole career."

That's Craig Kieswetter view on criticism of his South African heritage, both from the Bangladeshi bowlers and, rather bizarrely, Michael Vaughan - who also works for his management team.

But the 22-year old Somerset batsmen, the son of an Afrikaner father and Scottish mother, doesn't appear affected by such jibes, answering his critics both verbally and with his sturdy cricket bat.

"I was born with a British passport, I've done my four years, I am British, and I don't see it as an issue. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but for me it's about putting performances in on the park and helping England win," he said.

He certainly did the latter in Chittagong, blasting a magnificent 107 to form the backbone of England's 284 for 5, which proved good enough to secure a series whitewash. At 22 years and 97 days it also saw him become the second-youngest England batsman - after David Gower - to score an ODI hundred.

The score was, ironically, achieved in a patient, steady style, rather than with the gung ho spirit that earned him his international call-up in the first place. His aggressive style, born from the hard pitches of South Africa, raised hopes that England had finally found that quick scoring powerplay batsmen at the top of the order their limited overs side needs.

After two steady seasons of progress with his county in 2007 and 2008, 2009 saw Kieswetter begin to fulfil his potential. He averaged 65.83 opening the batting in the Friends Provident Trophy and he scored an unbeaten 138 off just 131 balls in the opening group match against Warwickshire. He notched 248 runs in the Twenty20 Cup and 1,242 runs at an average of almost 60 in the County Championship.

It is little wonder he was awarded his first cap the moment he qualified for England.
After two nervy innings in his opening matches it is encouraging to see him learn so quickly at this level, adapting his game to react to the match situation, showing a maturity and adaptability beyond his years.

With Andrew Strauss to return to the side and Alastair Cook doing a solid job as stand in, Kieswetter may just have given the selectors an unexpected, if welcome, headache.

Anyone considering a cricket bet on England to win the forthcoming Test series with Bangladesh can get odds of 2/7 on this happening.

Meanwhile, in football news, the World Cup betting still makes Spain favourites to win this year's tournament which will be held in South Africa.

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