Somerset wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter is set to miss the entire 2015 county season due to lasting effects from a horrific eye injury in July.
The South African-born cricketer broke his nose and fractured his eye socket when struck by a ball that passed through his helmet grille while batting against Northants in the County Championship at Wantage Road.
A statement released on the Somerset CCC website said that Kieswetter has struggled to regain perfect vision. The statement continued, confirming that he will continue to undergo further rehabilitation but it is unlikely he will fit for the 2015 season.
Kieswetter added: “It is really disappointing but my eye is not 100% and this of course is critical in maintaining the levels of performance that I expect of myself."
New Director of Cricket at Somerset, Matthew Maynard, commented: "This is clearly worrying news for Craig and his health and well-being are paramount in our minds at present. We will continue to support him during his treatment and rehabilitation and hope to see him return to playing as quickly as possible.”
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A VITAL ASSET
After joining Somerset in 2007, Kieswetter has become an integral part in the Somerset side, and also enjoyed a stint for England in the limited-overs formats. He was also the Man of the Match in the 2010 ICC Twenty20 World Cup final, with his 63 being instrumental in England's victory.
Kieswetter was also chosen ahead of current England international, Jos Buttler, as Somerset's first-choice wicketkeeper, resulting in the latter leaving the club for Lancashire last year.
With Buttler no longer at the club, and Kieswetter sidelined, Somerset now face the tricky task of acquiring an experienced wicketkeeper before the new season begins in four months time.
The 27-year-old, who was educated at Millfield School in Somerset, has become a stalwart at county level. He has scored 11 centuries at both first-class and List A level, averaging nearly 40 in both formats.
His consistency in the Twenty20 game has led to him becoming sought after worldwide. Kieswetter had recently been representing the Warriors in South Africa's domestic T20 tournament, and was due to play for the Sydney Thunder in the 2015 Big Bash event in Australia.