Somerset and England wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter could be forced to retire from cricket following the nasty blow he received playing for Somerset last summer.
Kieswetter was struck by a bouncer from David Willey whilst batting against Northamptonshire in the County Championship in July, with the ball forcing its way through his helmet grill, breaking his nose, injuring his cheekbone and also his eye-socket.
Despite his injuries, and consequent surgery, Kieswetter returned to Somerset’s side at the end of last season prompting hope that he could continue his career without any further issues.
He then signed a contract to play for South African side the Warriors as their overseas player in the domestic Ram Slam T20 Challenge. Prior to Christmas he played 10 games and scored 199 runs but admitted that he was struggling to pick up the line and length of the ball quickly enough, thus prompting the 27-year-old to announce in December that he was going to miss the whole of the 2015 season in order to rectify the problem.
Kieswetter will now see a specialist in Belgium this week to see if his fears about being forced to retire from the game for good are confirmed. Hopefully though Kieswetter will be given renewed hope in his quest to regain his eyesight 100 percent and therefore resume his career with Somerset.
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If the worst happens, and Kieswetter is forced to retire, it will put an end to what has been a promising career. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a wicketkeeper-batsmen who can represent his country in all formats of the game. He has already made a name for himself in the shorter formats of the game but also has the ability to play Test match cricket and still has a number of years left at the top level.
Kieswetter has already played 46 ODIs for his country, averaging just over 30, and had been picked as under-study for Jos Buttler for next month’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand before being forced to pull out. The South African-born keeper has also played 25 T20 internationals for England which is where his contributions with the bat are best remembered.
He was part of the victorious England Twenty20 side that won the World Cup in 2010 and played a huge part in their success, hitting 222 runs at an average of nearly 32, with a strike rate of 117, and forged a strong opening partnership with Michael Lumb.
Kieswetter's issues, meanwhile, draws comparisons to that sustained by Mark Boucher, the great South African wicket-keeper, who was forced to retire from the game after picking up an eye injury when playing for his country. Boucher was hit in the eye by a bail whilst keeping and never recovered his sight sufficiently to continue his playing career.