CRICKET : South Africa are set to make a late bid to prevent Craig Kieswetter turning his back on the country to represent England.
South Africa are set to make a late bid to prevent Craig Kieswetter turning his back on the country to represent England.
The Somerset wicketkeeper was recently called into the England performance squad, and will complete his qualification period in February. But captain Graeme Smith admits the Proteas are keen to lure the 21-year-old, born in South Africa to a Scottish mother, back ‘home’ as they line up a long-term replacement for Mark Boucher.
Smith said, in remarks reported in Friday morning’s Daily Mail: “Yes, we want him back. Our first challenge will be to get him into our franchise system. He’s someone we have seen and want, but it’s up to him.”
Kieswetter could become the latest in a string of Kolpak players to return to South Africa, with all-rounder Ryan McLaren and seamer Charl Langeveldt – formerly of Kent and Derbyshire respectively – set to line up against England in the opening Twenty20 international at the Wanderers.
Smith admitted the benefits of players boosting their skills in county cricket, but expressed a long-term desire to prevent the exodus.
He continued: “For these guys to gain experience and different challenges makes county cricket almost like an academy for us.
“McLaren has grown there and has hopefully returned a better player. I’ve been impressed with Ryan and he looks like he will add a lot of value to our bowling.
“We want to keep our players here in the first place and we want it to be the ultimate for them to play for South Africa. We are starting to get a lot of players back and it is strengthening our domestic system.
“The draw of the pound is a massive influence against us and cricketers have been one of South Africa’s biggest exports, but our national side have had success and more of our players now want to be part of it.”