Kieswetter relishing England return
Craig Kieswetter feels he is better equipped to cope with international cricket after being recalled by England for the NatWest Twenty20 international and the NatWest Series against Sri Lanka.
The Somerset wicketkeeper-batsman scored a century in only his third one-day international appearance against Bangladesh in February 2010 and followed that up with a man-of-the-match performance in the final against Australia as England won the ICC World Twenty20 three months later.
However, he plummeted from those heights, scoring only 121 runs in eight ODI innings against Australia and Bangladesh last summer and being dropped.
Two Twenty20 appearances against Pakistan in September at Cardiff - when he scored just six and 16 - were only a temporary reprieve.
Kieswetter learnt from those setbacks, working with batting coach Graham Thorpe and wicketkeeping coach Bruce French on England Lions duty last winter and he is now back in the picture to face the Sri Lanka tomorrow.
“I’m chuffed to bits to be back in the set-up after a bit of time out,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s solitary Twenty20 at Bristol.
“It was great to win the Twenty20 final but my performances against Australia and then Bangladesh at home didn’t warrant me being in the side. In international cricket, if you don’t perform, you get dropped. That is what happened to me.
“It was massively disappointing. I think once you get a taste of international cricket, to be dropped is a hard pill to swallow. But I think I’ve bounced back quite nicely. The winter has been good and it is great to be back in the fold.”
Kieswetter has tightened up his game without dispensing with the attacking skills that will be required in the shorter versions of the game.
He said: “I worked really hard with Graham Thorpe and Bruce French on the Lions trip and I’m really happy to be back.
“There have been a few things, a few technical issues and mental things I’ve worked on my batting with Thorpy and then with Frenchy on the wicketkeeping side. I am definitely seeing the positives from those sessions.
“With Thorpey, it was mainly about trying to work on four-day batting and trying to set good habits and good routines into my batting.
“They’ve fed through into the one-day stuff. I’ve been a bit more solid in defence because I know I’ve got the attacking game.
“I’m not going to change myself too much. I’m going to continue to be attacking. That’s my role, my natural game but I’m a lot more tighter, a lot more controlled with the way I play.”
All Kieswetter’s hard work is directed towards an eventual place in the Test team, a role currently occupied with some aplomb by Matt Prior.
“I'd love to play Test cricket,” said Kieswetter, 23. “That's the pinnacle. I always grew up wanting to play Test cricket.
"There wasn't Twenty20 when I was eight or nine and Test cricket is what you aimed for.
"But right now I've got a Twenty20 and a one-day series to look forward and that is all I'm putting my energy into right now."
New England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad is winning his battle to be fit to lead the side tomorrow.
He suffered a bruised heel on the final day of the third npower Test at the Rose Bowl, but appeared to be suffering no ill effects when he took part in intense fielding drills yesterday.