Kieswetter’s extraordinary career after T20 World Cup win and early retirement

England are set to face Australia today in their second game at the T20 World Cup and Eoin Morgan's side are eyeing a repeat of the 2010 triumph which saw them beat their old enemy in the final to win their first major trophy.

The 2010 World T20 tournament saw a Paul Collingwood-led England side emerge as champions after completing a comfortable seven-wicket win over Australia in the final with three overs remaining.

Key to England's success at that tournament was a powerful top three made up of Michael Lumb, Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen ended the tournament as leading run scorer, while Kieswetter was named player of the match in the final after making 63.

Both Lumb and Kieswetter were drafted into the side at the last minute after showing up England's senior team while facing them in a warm-up match for the England Lions.

Three months out from the tournament, Lumb scored 58 and Kieswetter struck 81 as the Lions beat England by five wickets.

That game prompted England to turn their back on the much more sedate opening partnership of Jonathan Trott and Joe Denly and hand both Lumb and Kieswetter their T20I debuts at the World T20.

Reflecting on the tournament and England's triumph, Kieswetter later told the Daily Mail : "It was a life-changing experience.

"The longer time has gone on, the more I have appreciated what we were able to achieve as a team.

"I read a few of the articles that came out on the 10-year anniversary in May and it made me feel quite nostalgic. It was an amazing time.

"We would win a game of cricket, have a few rum and cokes in the dressing room, go back to the hotel, warm down by swimming in the ocean, go back to the bar on the beach, have a couple of pina coladas, go for dinner, then play a round of golf on our day off.

"For those three weeks, we pretty much lived on the beach, the cricket ground or the golf course. But there were phenomenal cricketers in that side and there was no fear of failure.

"In terms of English cricket, that squad was the pioneer of the attacking and ruthless style we see now."

The tournament proved to be the pinnacle of Kieswetter's career, with the wicketkeeper going on to earn 46 ODI caps and 25 T20I caps.

The Somerset star made his final international appearance in January 2013 in an ODI against India, before suffering what ultimately proved to be a career-ending injury the following year.

In a County Championship game against Northamptonshire, a bouncer from David Willey burst between his helmet and grille, breaking his nose and fracturing his eye socket.

Despite his best attempts to return to the sport, Kieswetter was ultimately forced to announce his retirement almost a year after the injury occurred.

Reflecting on his retirement, Kieswetter told the Mail: "I look back with a lot of sadness at having to retire at 27.

"I was devastated because I thought I’d finally matured as a cricketer. It would have been interesting to see if at 29 or 30 I would have been knocking around the England side.

"I like to think I would have been. But I don’t look back at it with regret because I actually didn’t have much option.

"My eyesight was not good enough for my own self-belief and self-comfort. I always want to give my best but physically I couldn’t with a slight loss of vision.

"On the one hand, I am unfortunate, but on the other I am extremely lucky that it didn’t end up in a tragedy like Phil [Hughes, the Australian batter who tragically passed away after getting hit in the head by a bouncer].

"I am eternally grateful that the damage was fixable to a certain extent and that I didn’t lose my eye or even worse, have a tragedy such as Phil."

After his retirement from cricket, Kieswetter attempted to become a professional golfer and ended up earning a spot on the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) tour in 2017.

Speaking to the Sun at the time, Kieswetter said: "As a cricketer, I was a good amateur golfer, playing off two or three. But it was never my idea to go pro.

"After retiring from cricket I went back to see family in Cape Town and was feeling a bit lost, not knowing what to do.

"For 26 years all I’d wanted to do was be a pro cricketer. My old man said, ‘You love golf, go to the States, travel around Florida and have fun’.

"There, I had a few lessons with Leadbetter, who was pretty much the first proper golf coach with Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Justin Rose and so many top players.

"He’s Zimbabwean-English and loves cricket so we had a lot of common ground and hit it off. He asked, ‘Are you looking to progress in golf?’ and I said, ‘Not really’.

"But he said, ‘There is so much potential to turn you into a professional golfer’. I said, ‘That’s cool’ but thought, ‘This guy’s clearly trying to blow smoke up my a**e’. But my mum, dad and brother said, ‘If he’s saying that, then give it a go’.

"I was just thinking, ‘Look, I’ve had one career in professional sport, two would be taking the p***. I have got to start living a normal life and earn an honest income’."

However, Kieswetter has since switched sports again, moving into horse-racing after his father purchased Ridgemont Highlands farm, where the family now breeds racehorses.

Speaking to the Racing Post in 2019 he said: "My father used to ride as an amateur and my grandfather owned racehorses, and then my dad bought my brother, Ross, a horse, What A Mission, for his 18th birthday and the whole family got back into it from there. That's now snowballed into the breeding side of things.

"The mentality between professional sport and racing and breeding is very similar. It's hard to keep on an even keel when things are going well, but at the same time things can go badly very quickly, so it's important to enjoy it when it works out because you never know when it'll happen again."

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