Kieswetter hopes to ride out nerves
Craig Kieswetter may cut an ultra-confident figure at the crease but he concedes his rapid promotion to the England set-up caused an attack of the butterflies.
Kieswetter only completed his four-year qualification period to become eligible for England last week but caught the eye on England Lions’ tour of the United Arab Emirates to such an extent that he was added to the senior one-day squad for the Bangladesh trip.
The Somerset wicketkeeper-batsman looked a class apart in the shadow side’s series against Pakistan A but his most noteworthy knock was the fine 81 he scored in a warm-up encounter against Andy Flower’s first XI.
Nevertheless, the swiftness of his elevation has caught him off-guard.
“I’m very surprised but very excited about this opportunity. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said the 22-year-old. “I’m really chuffed, really excited to be coming in, but there are butterflies and nerves going around.
“I’ll be trying to do the best that I can in training and hopefully in the matches too. I’ll keep my head down, work hard and if I get the chance I’ll try to take that as well.”
Like first-choice wicketkeeper Matt Prior, Kieswetter is possessed with stacks of confidence and both men have forged reputations as aggressive strokemakers.
Kieswetter believes the pair can work together to make England’s keeping options the envy of world cricket.
“I think Matt Prior is doing a great job at the moment; he’s really taking England keeping up a level,” said Kieswetter.
“It’s becoming more full-on, wicketkeeping. Matt’s been working really hard with (ECB wicketkeeping coach) Bruce French and I’ve been lucky enough to work with him as well.
“We’re just trying to raise the intensity and raise the bar to a new level so that other international teams don’t know what has hit them.
"Competition can be seen as a positive thing for English cricket. Maybe it’s a good thing for younger players to be coming through and putting pressure on the guys. That helps English cricket.”
Although Kieswetter’s mother is British and he spent long periods of his childhood in her Edinburgh home, his South African upbringing is sure to garner plenty of attention, especially with the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott already involved in the England set-up.
Despite that, his affiliation is in no doubt, as he confirmed last November.
“People are entitled to their own opinions and everyone will have them, but for me it’s about being proud to wear the England shirt and I am. I am delighted about this opportunity,” he added.
Kieswetter is expected to play as a specialist batsman against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in a 50-over warm-up in Dhaka tomorrow and he has already warned about the dangers of over-confidence on a tour when England are favourites to triumph.
“Touring anywhere is a challenge and I think it would be silly for us to take Bangladesh as an easy game or an easy series,” he said.
“They are preparing well and they’re coming back from a pretty good tour of New Zealand. At the end of the day it’s a cricket ball - and we’ve got to hit it no matter who is bowling it.”
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