Kieswetter commits himself to England

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The Independent Online

Somerset's highly-rated wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter admits he is flattered by interest from the South Africa camp but has committed himself to England.

Kieswetter, born in Johannesburg to a Scottish mother, does not qualify for England duty until February but, after gaining rave reviews for his tidy glovework and dashing batting style during his time in county cricket, he has already earned a call-up to the England Performance Squad.

England's use of South Africa-born players is a hot topic at the moment, with Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott both wearing the Three Lions in the land of their birth on England's current tour, while Matt Prior and Andrew Strauss were both born in South Africa before leaving for England at a young age.

Proteas captain Graeme Smith waded into the debate this week and has called on Kieswetter to pledge himself to the South Africa cause.

The 21-year-old would certainly appear to have a route into Smith's team, with current wicketkeeper Mark Boucher turning 33 next month.

But Kieswetter has moved to reaffirm his commitment both to England and to Somerset.

"It is very flattering to hear someone of Graeme Smith's stature speak so highly of me but I remain committed to playing international cricket for England and that remains my ambition," he said.

Somerset's director of cricket, Brian Rose, welcomed the news, adding: "He's a very exciting prospect and everyone at Somerset, from the players to the members and the supporters, will be delighted he remains committed to helping Somerset achieve further success and hopefully go on to play for England."

Smith, who has been buoyed by the return of Ryan McLaren and Charl Langeveldt to South Africa colours following stints in England, was earlier quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: "Yes, we want him back.

"Our first challenge will be to get him into our franchise system. He's someone we have seen and want but it's up to him.

"We want to keep our players here in the first place and we want it to be the ultimate for them to play for South Africa. We are starting to get a lot of players back and it is strengthening our domestic system.

"The draw of the pound is a massive influence against us and cricketers have been one of South Africa's biggest exports but our national side have had success and more of our players now want to be part of it."