BATTING sensation Craig Kieswetter gave a timely nudge to the England selectors after inflicting an embarrassing defeat on Andy Flower’s senior side.
The South African-born wicket-keeper/batsman smashed 81 off just 66 balls to help a second string Lions side to a surprise five-wicket victory over the England first XI in a Twenty20 warm-up match in Dubai.
It was the first day that Kieswetter, 22, had taken to the field as a fully-qualified England player and now looks a decent bet to break into England’s Twenty 20 World Cup side bound for the West Indies in May.
With the Lions hasing 158 to win, Kieswetter was joined in his assault by another South African-born batsman, Hampshire’s Michael Lumb, who hit an unbeaten 58 off 35 balls including 14 off the final over to snatch victory.
Another England hopeful, spinner Adil Rashid, also caught the eye with 3-22, accounting for Kevin Pietersen, captain Paul Collingwood and dangerman Eoin Morgan in quick succession, as Andy Flower’s men slumped to 68-5 at one stage.
Luke Wright led the fightback with a rousing 42 off just 21 balls, while Matt Prior, whose place in the side in now under pressure from Kieswetter, stepped up to the mark with a 22-ball 33, but it didn’t quite prove to be enough.
All-rounder Wright said: “Ideally you want to win but we’ve all got to get rid of a few cobwebs. As far as a friendly goes it was brilliant for us because it was a close game.”