Somerset yet to resolve Jos Buttler and Craig Kieswetter wicketkeeping issue
Jos Buttler believes he needs to continue keeping wicket if he is to remain in the England reckoning, but Somerset’s key figures are yet to solve the conundrum regarding him and Craig Kieswetter.
With the new LV= County Championship season three weeks away – and Somerset facing Worcestershire in a friendly later this week – skipper Marcus Trescothick and director of cricket Dave Nosworthy are yet to reach a resolution with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Buttler and Kieswetter over who will keep wicket this season.
Somerset are in the bizarre position of having two wicketkeepers on England’s radar, with Buttler – who has rarely kept wicket at county level – having recently taken over the one-day international gloves from his club-mate and close friend.
Buttler, whose contract at Taunton expires this autumn, feels he needs to keep wicket at county level if he is to remain in the England picture, while Kieswetter no doubt believes he must wear the gloves if he is to return to the ODI arena.
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Nosworthy only arrived in England last Friday – but has already spoken with the England management about the issue and has further talks with limited-overs coach Ashley Giles planned for this week.
“I think all the avenues are open to discuss how we are going to move forward – it’s a work in progress, there’s no set decision on how we are going to manage it,” said Nosworthy.
“There are still three weeks to the start of the season and strategically we are entitled to play whoever we want at wicketkeeper – it might be that I select myself!
“There are no guarantees for selection and the players respect that and understand. Naturally, we would like to serve the players’ interests – that’s very important, to help them in their own careers.
“But the circumstances we find ourselves in are not able to satisfy both, obviously. We will have a game-plan in the next couple of weeks and we are dealing with it on a daily basis.”
Both players were asked about “the situation” at Somerset’s pre-season media day yesterday, and Buttler said: “We’ve had discussions since Dave has arrived and it’s quite clear we haven’t quite come to a solution yet. But it’s something we’re working towards, together, to come to a solution that suits both of us.
“We’ll remain great friends and we want the best for each other and the best for ourselves, so it’s a situation that is ongoing and one we’re working out. [But] the opportunities that have arisen for me [with England] have been down the wicketkeeping route, so it’s obviously something I need to pursue.”
Kieswetter, meanwhile, said that the club’s best interests had to be protected, despite the delicate nature of a situation that affects four parties – Somerset, England and two individuals.
“In a team sport, you get players fighting for the same position,” he said. “We’ve got two wicketkeepers and it’s a different situation because we’ve never had this problem before at the club.
“We’re both extremely passionate about playing for the club – and what’s important for us is to make sure that whatever happens is in the best interests of the club, because ultimately, that will be the best for us as players as well.”
Club captain Trescothick, a veteran of 76 Tests and 123 ODIs for England, understands all sides of the argument and added: “We have a right to look after both of them – to try to get opportunities to get the best out of them – but also to make sure the team is picked with the team in mind. We’ll do our best to try to accommodate them and look after them as best we can.
“The team has to come first – then we’ve got to look after both individuals, and we respect both positions they are in, while we also respect what the ECB need and what they want. We’ll sit down, discuss and work out the best policy.”