So England duly slipped on the banana skin that was playing the already acclimatised England Lions in Dubai yesterday and lost the T20 match on the last ball.
As job interviews go Craig Kieswetter passed with flying colours, with his 81 (plus an excellent 50 by Michael Lumb and three wickets for Adil Rashid) proving the matchwinner for a buoyant Lions side.
Kieswetter is another South African, who only qualified for England on Tuesday this week, but he has made a compelling case for elevation to the senior side and should be promoted now to the T20I and ODI squads for the matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Matt Prior has done well in the test side; his keeping has improved and he has made several impressive cameos with the bat even if he doesn’t seem to last long when England really needs him to (Cardiff, Centurion, Cape Town, Johannesburg…). But his record in the ODI and T20I arena is poor.
In 52 ODIs, despite batting for the most part in the top four, Prior has scored two fifties and has a low average of 24 with an adequate strike rate of 74. That is not good enough and with Kieswetter looking so impressive, the change should be made now rather than later.
Prior should keep his place in the test side for now, but Kieswetter is potentially a very special player and surely it can’t be long before he wears the gloves for England in all three forms of the game.
Just like Ian Healy (a fantastic keeper/batsman by the way) had to make way for the hurricane force that was Adam Gilchrist (one of those ‘once in a generation cricketers’ that the Aussies are so fond of tagging), so Prior should make way for Kieswetter preferably in time for The Ashes.
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