Exclusive: I owe Broady quite a lot! Kieswetter's grateful for drop of luck
21:30 GMT, 19 September 2012
Star: But Kieswetter can still be inconsistent
Craig Kieswetter might not be in Sri Lanka now if not for an outrageous twist of fate that fast-tracked him into the first England side to win a global limited-overs tournament.
He would certainly not have been man of the match in the World Twenty20 final against Australia in 2010 had he not been dropped by Stuart Broad when he was playing for the Lions against the seniors in a warm-up in Abu Dhabi.
The South African with a Scottish mother went on to hit a spectacular 81 and was rapidly elevated to the England one-day side in Bangladesh and then the Caribbean Twenty20 venture that ended so joyously in Barbados.
'I guess I owe Broady quite a lot!' said Kieswetter, smiling. 'I believe there's a connection between a bit of luck, fate and a lot of hard work. That game kick-started it for me.'
It has not all been easy since for a batsman-keeper who threw in his lot with Somerset and England when he was 18 – not least because national selector Geoff Miller warned that his panel would 'have to be careful' in picking too many players with South African backgrounds.
Kieswetter, who played for South Africa Under 19s, has never had any doubts about committing himself to England, even when Graeme Smith made a late bid to convince him he could become the eventual Test successor to Mark Boucher.
In glove: Kieswetter, who has a Scottish mother, opted to play for England over South Africa
So, instead of facing England this summer after Boucher's serious eye injury, Kieswetter, 24, became man of the series against South Africa in the Twenty20 matches held before this defence of England's world crown. He is a better player than in 2010.
'I was pretty naive back then,' said Kieswetter of his international baptism. 'I hit a hundred against Bangladesh and then was part of winning a World Cup. But we came back to England, I didn't play so well and got dropped. I went from one extreme to the other but it made me learn more about myself as a cricketer. I'm happy I went through that early on in my career rather than later.'
Man of the match: Kieswetter starred in the last Twenty20 final
THE BRIGGS FILE
Born April 30, 1991 in Newport, Isle of Wight.
A product of Hampshire’s youth set-up, having played with the Royals since age nine. He made his first team debut in 2009,aged 21.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori is his cricketing hero, Briggs modelling his action on
the New Zealand ace.
In 2009 he was England U19s top wicket-taker on tour of Bangladesh (eight wickets).
Youngest Hampshire player to represent England.
Holds Hampshire T20 record for wickets in a season (31).
Kieswetter can still be inconsistent, mixing six-hitting with too many dot balls at times. He is also capable of spectacular keeping only to then fumble straightforward chances, as he did in the one-day international at the Ageas Bowl. But he is unquestionably England's first-choice in both 50-over and 20-over cricket now and has been described by one selector this season as a candidate to play Test cricket as a specialist batsman.
'I don't think I'm as much of a whack and wallop player any more,' he said. 'I've got big shots in my locker but I'm a bit more street-wise in manipulating the ball. I've become a lot more consistent as a keeper, too.'
It was a shock when Kieswetter missed out on the Test squad for India but he will be promoted from the Performance Squad if injury befalls Matt Prior. Before then comes the small matter of retaining the cup in Sri Lanka.
Craig Kieswetter is an ambassador for PUMA. For more info, go to www.puma.com/cricket