Kieswetter proves a crossover hit
Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright spoke to the media after the game
Craig Kieswetter thanked a youthful grounding in hockey for the hard-hitting style he showcased to devastating effect as England Lions downed their senior colleagues on the final ball in Abu Dhabi.
The second string are now five games into their Twenty20 tour of the United Arab Emirates and they put their experiences to full use to sneak a five-wicket win over an England side who only arrived out at the weekend.
South Africa-born wicketkeeper Kieswetter took to the crease on his first full day as an England-qualified player and proceeded to smash a boundary-filled 81.
That was nearly double what England top-scorer Luke Wright managed in his unbeaten 42 in a first-innings 157 for six.
Asked where he had developed the muscular style he used to hit nine fours and two sixes at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Kieswetter said: “I played field hockey when I was younger and that probably comes into the technique a bit.
“Usually I just swing from the hip as hard as I can. I like to think I can hit the ball hard but I don’t like to see myself as a slogger.
“In other forms of the game, like 50 overs, I’d like to think I can bat through and help win games.
“You have to weigh up a brand new ball against the field restrictions but I quite like the fact that there are only two men out (of the ring) in the first six overs.”
It could all have been different, though, had Stuart Broad not misjudged a seemingly straightforward catch at mid-off when Kieswetter had just four to his name.
“Obviously I had quite a nice chance being dropped early on,” said Kieswetter.
“But the sky actually plays quite a big factor here. In training we have struggled to take those high catches.”
Kieswetter’s innings was the standout performance from a Lions side that impressed from the off.
Also on song was Michael Lumb, who won the game with the required four off Wright’s final delivery to close on 58 not out.
He had earlier retired hurt on 40 having been bloodied by a rearing Broad delivery.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid, dropped from the Test squad after a disappointing trip to South Africa, collected 3-22.
Explaining the desire to impress among David Parsons’ shadow XI, Kieswetter added: “As Lions we set standards and we want to be able to play the aggressive brand of cricket England as a whole are trying to play.
“Throughout our series we’ve been trying to play this kind of brave cricket that England are looking to play.”
Wright, whose success with the bat was tempered somewhat by conceding the required 14 from the last over, said England would be better for the workout despite defeat.
“Ideally you want to win but we’ve all got to get rid of a few cobwebs,” said the all-rounder.
“As far as a friendly goes it was brilliant for us because it was a close game. If you come to these games and just win then you don’t get a lot out of it.
“There are guys who want to come into this squad and guys who want to keep their place so it was always going to be competitive.”
The new Brit Insurance 2010-11 official England Cricket Team kit will be available to pre order from April 1 via ecb.co.uk, and in store from April 29