Kieswetter excited by England future

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The Independent Online

Craig Kieswetter put his name in the frame for an opening spot in England's Twenty20 team and admitted he was already trying to think like an international player.

The South Africa-born wicketkeeper-batsman has long been viewed as a star in the making and the hype around him is unlikely to abate after he cracked an assured 81 in the Lions' five-wicket win over their senior colleagues in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Indeed, the fact that he had only been England qualified for a day when he flayed his would-be team-mates for nine fours and two sixes in his 66-ball knock only served to increase the buzz.

While team director Andy Flower is unlikely to be delighted to see his first-choice XI undone by their understudies, albeit in a last-ball thriller, he now has another potential candidate for his World Twenty20 side.

It would be a bold call to select the Somerset player for the Caribbean tournament - not least because there are no opportunities to blood him in the England team before the squad is named.

But Kieswetter, who has now collected scores of 31, 40no, 77no, 50 and 81 on the UAE trip, has already adopted the senior side's mindset.

"I'm very excited about finally being qualified and being able to look forward to this part of my career," he said.

"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 as a unit are looking to play."

Kieswetter and fellow Lions opener Michael Lumb (58no) both succeeded where England's top order failed by clearing the ropes early on.

It is an area that has regularly caused problems in England's limited-overs game and Kieswetter attributed his own muscular hitting to an unusual source.

"I played field hockey when I was younger and that probably comes into the technique a bit," he said.

"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 I'd like to think I can bat through and help win games."

England must rally quickly for their back-to-back matches against Twenty20 world champions Pakistan in Dubai, starting tomorrow.

Luke Wright found some batting form after raising England to a respectable 157 for six with his two-a-ball 42no.

The Sussex all-rounder, whose success at the crease was tempered when he conceded 14 off the last over, believes the workout will stand his team-mates in good stead.

"Ideally you want to win but we've all got to get rid of a few cobwebs," he said.

"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."