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Saturday, June 6, 2015

'long-stop' - strange fielding place .... Craig Kieswetter retires !!!

When the field is spread out – you will see ‘long on and long off’ – heard of ‘ long stop’ – all those played local Cricket would know !!  - generally, Wicket-keepers are vulnerable and there would be a fielder [usually the ordinary of them all] placed exactly behind the wicketkeeper to stop what the WK lets go !!  Ben Cox made headlines in 2009 after he was plucked out of his A-level classes at Bromsgrove School to make his first-class debut aged 17. He signed a four-year deal at Worcestershire in 2009 and became the first-choice wicketkeeper half-way through the 2010 season.  Recently, he would have wondered what Wicket keeping was all about and where he should be standing  !!!

Miles away, Roseau is the capital and largest city of Dominica,  surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Roseau River and Morne Bruce. Built on the site of the ancient Kalinago Indian village of Sairi, it is the oldest and most important urban settlement on the island of Dominica. It is located on the west (leeward) coast of Dominica, officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, an island country in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea. Dominica was first discovered by the Spanish, then colonized by the French and British before finally obtaining independence in 1978. Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it, a Sunday (dies Dominica in Latin), 3 November 1493.  At Windsor Park, Roseau, Dominica,  in Test no. 2161- Australia defeated West Indies comfortably by 9 wickets.   A middle-order batsman who also keeps wicket, Shane Dowrich made his Test debut – he made 70 in the 2nd innings.

Back in England, Craig Kieswetter, the England ODI and T20 wicketkeeper who was Man of the Match in the 2010 World T20 final, has announced his retirement following the eye injury he sustained last year. Kieswetter was struck in the face when a ball went between his helmet and grille when playing against Northamptonshire, breaking his nose and damaging his eye socket. He returned for two matches at the end of the 2015 season, then went to play T20 in South Africa, but struggled with the effects of the injuries. Earlier this year he said he would take this season off from playing for Somerset to try and make a full recovery but even at that stage admitted he may have to curtail his career.  Sadly, he had to take the tough decision stating that after that eye injury, he mentally will never again be the player that he was !

Kieswetter played 46 ODIs for England and 25 T20s having made his international debut in February 2010 against Bangladesh. He scored a century in his third ODI, in Chittagong, and then became an integral part of the team which won the World T20 in the Caribbean after Andy Flower made a late decision to partner him and Michael Lumb at the top of the order. Kieswetter made 63 off 49 balls in the final against Australia as England secured what remains their only piece of global silverware. His last involvement around an England squad was when he was called up as a replacement during the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.

Sad news for the fans, who have seen Craig as one of the most explosive 'keeper-batsmen' in the game.  He is not the first though to be kept out due to injury.  In 2012, tour to England, the Lord's Test would have been his 150th appearance. Boucher had to  end on 998 international dismissals, including 555 from 147 Tests, which is a record.   In what was to be  Imran Tahir’s first wicket of the tour -  the  flying bail caused something far more serious than just broken stumps. Boucher went down immediately and there was no team celebration. Instead, the eleven closed in to see an unfamiliar clear fluid coming out of his eye. The medical staff spent a few minutes treating Boucher pitch-side before they were ready to take him off the field, but after a few steps, he stumbled.  He had to fly back, the extent of the injury was described as severe and the eyeball (globe of the eye) reportedly  was repaired during the operation – bringing an end to career of Boucher who scored 5515 runs in 147 tests and 4686 in 295 One dayers – age was catching up and he would have retired sooner, but to leave in this fashion is indeed unfortunate.

~ and almost a dozen of years ago, Syed Saba Karim, the Indian wicket keeper,  sustained eye injury in an unusual mishap at Dhaka during the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in May 2000.   He was rushed to Shankar Netralaya, in Chennai,  underwent surgery on the affected right eye, endured an extended treatment period became fit, but was perhaps never the same thereafter.   Hemang Badani, made his debut in that match.  Anil Kumble though bowling quicker went wicketless though he could beat the batsmen for pace.  Unfortunately one of those deliveries beat wicketkeeper Saba Karim ending up smacking his face.  

Now to the  strange fielding placing ….. England's Moeen Ali hit a dominant 90 off 50 balls - after being dropped before scoring - and took two catches to give Worcestershire their second NatWest T20 Blast victory by 14 runs over winless Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. He helped them reach 211 for 3 in a game that produced one of the strangest field placings seen in English cricket for years. During Worcestershire's stint in the field, their captain Daryl Mitchell asked wicketkeeper Ben Cox to ditch his gloves and pads and become an extra fielder - leaving no one behind the stumps. The umpires, after consultation, allowed it.  Moeen - who scored just 104 runs in the recent Test series against New Zealand - should have been caught from the first legitimate delivery of the game, after Worcestershire won the toss and batted first. Another England hopeful David Willey produced the edge, but Rory Kleinveldt put down the straightforward chance at slip.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th June 2015.

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