Success in New Zealand and their qualified failure in India have yielded a novel conundrum for England. Along the way, this winter they exchanged wicketkeepers in one-day cricket.
This is not itself unusual – the position has been perpetually confounding since Alec Stewart retired 10 years ago – but this time it is different. Craig Kieswetter, who has been dropped, and Jos Buttler, who has replaced him, both play for the same county, Somerset.
Kieswetter has been the county's preferred keeper-batsman as he was England's until being omitted from the side in India and left out of the squad for New Zealand. It was a ruthless if pragmatic step by the new one-day coach, Ashley Giles.
"I will be speaking to Somerset, but about both players," he said after England secured their first one-day series win in New Zealand for 20 years on Saturday with a domineering win by five wickets in the third match.
"I can't tell Somerset what to do. But it's pretty obvious Jos needs to keep wicket now. It is a difficult situation for Somerset because they have a responsibility to Kiesy to help him get back in the side and Jos is the current one-day keeper. I don't envy their position."
Buttler has more subtlety than Kieswetter but he is certainly not the finished article and so far his top score in four innings is 21.
England did not win by the margin they ought to have done in Auckland but they were still much the superior side. The match was effectively done when Steve Finn and Jimmy Anderson reduced the opposition to 11 for 3.
After the narrow 3-2 defeat in India, it has been a successful initial outing for Giles and augurs well for England's decision to split the coaching duties between him (limited overs) and Andy Flower (Tests). "We speak every four days," said Giles. "Andy is good for me with his experience and as team director he needs to know what is going on."Reuse content