Marcus Trescothick has urged the critics to lay off Craig Kieswetter and tipped him to bounce back for England. The Somerset wicketkeeper is struggling for form with the bat, and a dismal one-day series against Australia and Bangladesh brought just 121 runs from eight innings.
The slump in form led the England head coach Andy Flower to order the 22-year-old opener to work on his "package". Yet Kieswetter's county captain Trescothick said: "Craig's form has been indifferent but we need to give him time. I have spoken to him and he needs to deal with the pressure that comes with a couple of low scores.
"When you play for England, you can't get away from that pressure but you have to try and block it out. If you don't get a hundred every week then people will always be on your back.
"But he will bounce back. He has the character and he's certainly good enough to play for England. The players at Somerset will offer him all the support we can but at the same time, the public and media have to give him a chance."
Trescothick believes the South African-born player must now show his mental strength to stake his claim for an Ashes spot later this year. "There is pressure on every international cricketer." said Trescothick. "You have to deal with the pressure of playing good teams like Australia but the media is probably the biggest thing to overcome when you first come into international cricket."
On Tuesday, England's women and their New Zealand counterparts play the last of their five-match one-day series at Lord's. While the surroundings may be somewhat more salubrious, it is a fair bet the crowd in north London will be neither as knowledgeable nor as appreciative than that gathered at Shaw Lane in Barnsley yesterday, when England won by nine wickets.
Not when it comes to Katherine Brunt, anyway. Barnsley-born, England's Cricketer of the Year was back at her home club and almost desperately keen to make her mark against New Zealand. Opening the bowling from the Holgate End, Brunt made full use of her local knowledge, swinging the ball at the sort of pace which has made her the most exciting bowler produced by the women's game in this country.
Buoyed by the New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins' surprising decision to bat first, England's bowlers, lead by Brunt and Isa Guha, got the tourists down and kept them there. The young spinners Laura Marsh, Holly Colvin and Danielle Hazell were impressive, bowling with sufficient control to enable captain Charlotte Edwards to keep her field close.
Frustrated into taking risks against deliveries that seamed, turned or sometimes simply stopped on the pitch, the wickets tumbled. Had it not been for Atkins' late hitting, they would not have passed 100.
Just to rub in the impression that luck was not on their side, the weather changed during the interval, cloud and rain being replaced by sun and a drying wind. The pitch remained difficult, but Sarah Taylor, Heather Knight and Claire Taylor played sensibly and correctly in seeing England home to their 137 target with the best part of four overs remaining.
Brunt admitted she had been as nervous before the match as before any she has played. "It was a really special occasion for me and I was desperate not to let anyone down, so I was pretty pleased when New Zealand chose to bat because I knew there was plenty in the pitch," she said.
"I was pleased with how the ball came out. When I lose my action my pace can drop, but I held it together OK out there."
Brunt has recently been clocked at just over 75mph, and now she has overcome back problems that plagued her early career, there is clearly more to come. As there is from many of this England team. The academy established by the ECB at the National Cricket performance Centre in Loughborough is clearly working, in that young, talented county players are making the transition to the international set-up much more quickly than before.Reuse content