Prior welcomes Kieswetter competition

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The Independent Online

England are pushing the boundaries of limited-overs cricket on this tour of Bangladesh. Not only did they, improbably, field two off-spinners in the second one-day international but they have also selected two wicketkeeper batsmen in both matches.

While both Graeme Swann and James Tredwell could bowl, there could be only one keeper. The extensively improved Matt Prior has done the job ahead of Craig Kieswetter, whose meteoric rise has so far seen him play as an opening batsman. It may be that there cannot continue to be room for both, especially in the World Twenty20 squad in May.

"I don't see why not," said Prior last night. "We're playing together at the moment and the balance of the team looks pretty good. A little bit of competition always helps."

Prior must still have been nonplussed when his new rival was added to the one-day squad a fortnight ago. South African Kieswetter had only finished his qualification period three days earlier but had been hugely impressive with England A.

The gauntlet thrown down, Prior has responded by keeping marvellously on dodgy, low pitches and played two key innings at No 6. Kieswetter has found that international cricket is no cakewalk, whatever the opposition, with scores of 19 and four, and being dropped both times before scoring.

"I like to think I'm a big team man and it's important that new guys feel comfortable and are part of the team, and he is," Prior added. "Competition always helps."

England will select both again in the third and final match tomorrow. There are doubts about the fitness of fast bowler Stuart Broad, who has a stiff back. Ryan Sidebottom is already out.

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