x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Kieswetter powers himself into contention with form in UAE

It was the emergence of the wicketkeeper batsman which has drawn much of the attention over the last fortnight for England.

England left Dubai for Bangladesh today having gleaned plenty of positives from their drawn Twenty20 series against Pakistan - but the biggest impact may have been made by a man who took no part in either match. Paul Collingwood, England's captain in the shortest form of the game, will hand the leadership to Alastair Cook when the team touch down in Dhaka, having presided over an entertaining 1-1 draw against the world champions. But before passing the baton to Cook, Collingwood had time for an assessment of the squad's progress. Graeme Swann, whose measured bowling earned him the man of the series award, is sure to have impressed, as did big-hitting duo Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen. But it was the emergence of South Africa-born Craig Kieswetter which has drawn much of the attention over the last fortnight. The wicketkeeper-batsman's fine form on the Lions tour of the UAE, including a knock of 81 against the senior side in a warm-up match, earned him a last-minute call-up to the one-day side, a move which earned Collingwood's blessing. The captain said: "The way he played against us, and the way he played for the Lions against Pakistan A has opened everyone's eyes and he deserves inclusion into the senior squads. "He's an exciting player and he hits the ball extremely hard, which is great for one-day and Twenty20 cricket. He deserves his chance." Despite the fact he has been keeping wicket for the Lions, and also does so for Somerset, Kieswetter's emergence does not appear to directly challenge Matt Prior's place in England's limited-overs set-up. Prior is Andy Flower's first choice gloveman in all three formats and Collingwood was fulsome in his praise of the Sussex man earlier this week. Instead, it is Kieswetter's fearless ball striking at the top of the order that the England selectors covet after their opening partnership misfired on both occasions against Pakistan. * PA Sport