England v India, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge

Cook confident over Prior fitness

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 8, 2014

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A
'It's a tough selection call' - Cook

Alastair Cook is confident Matt Prior will be fit to take his place in the first Investec Test against India after reporting "mild tightness" in his right thigh which led to Jos Buttler being called up as cover on Tuesday.

Prior was recalled to the Test side for the series against Sri Lanka having been dropped following the third Test against Australia in Perth. He made 86 in the first innings at Lord's but endured a difficult match with the gloves at Headingley.

"We're 99% sure that he'll be fine but we'll have a little check in the morning just to make sure," Cook said. "But all things at the moment are looking good.''

Prior spent the first part of the season battling his ongoing Achilles injury which meant his recall was uncertain until he managed to get through a Championship match for Sussex shortly before the first Test against Sri Lanka. He underwent a fitness Test on Tuesday where he was seen diving around with the gloves on.


Fitness test: Matt Prior flings himself around, Trent Bridge, July 8, 2014
Fitness test: Matt Prior flings himself around © Getty Images
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Buttler is uncapped at Test level but put pressure on Prior for the wicketkeeper's spot before the series against Sri Lanka following his impressive one-day performances which included 121 off 74 balls at Lord's.

However, both the player himself and the England management followed the same line in saying he needed more time in first-class cricket to work on his red-ball game. He has had a solid Championship season for Lancashire with 491 runs at 40.91 included one hundred and four fifties.

At the weekend, Buttler said he was comfortable with his batting but believed his wicketkeeping still needed refining.

"The move to Lancashire has been going okay for me and given me the opportunity to develop my wicketkeeping a bit faster than before. But I have to be realistic. It is my first season keeping as a first choice keeper in red ball cricket and I have to remember that and not get frustrated that I'm not quite doing it as well as I would like to yet.

"I'm probably batting as well as I have in the Championship. I am a bit older and more experienced, I have matured as a person over the winter and it is going really well. I'm starting to learn my game a bit better but there is plenty of room for improvement."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 9, 2014, 9:20 GMT)

@CodandChips - Have posted elsewhere on Jos.

This season Chris Read's batting stats are actually better than Jos's and he is obviously a better WK and it's on familiar territory.

I hate to say it but I could see Jos overcompensating on his game. You say you wouldn't but I thought Morgan would play his natural game when he played test cricket and he looked very inhibited in UAE. Personally I think there is definitely a place for unorthodox shots in test cricket - the key being shot selection.

Posted by   on (July 9, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

Strange, that fans are asking for English players currently involved in the CC games, and Indian players who are currently touring Australia.

One possible interpretation is that they consider this series 'so important' as to demand recalling players from important games! If it is so; wow, it's good for test cricket!, in general and Indo-English tests in particular.

Posted by   on (July 9, 2014, 8:17 GMT)

Lets change this team up. Prior is the past Buttler is the future. Are we just trying to win one test or building for the future. If we are dispensing with our most exciting batsman in Kev, then lets bring through someone who can make this boring team at least worth watching. By the way can we replace Cook with someone that at least has a clue.

Posted by CodandChips on (July 9, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

@JG2704 While I doubt Buttler is ready with the gloves, he probably is close with the bat. While I would prefer a proper keeper, I doubt Buttler could be anywhere near as bad as Prior. Personally I'd go with Foster or even Bates (I did like Davies but he's given up keeping). Foster has improved with the bat. But batting for a keeper isn't too relevant. Especially if England pick certain bowlers like Woakes and Stokes who are more allrounders than bowlers.Bates is the best gloveman.

Posted by CodandChips on (July 9, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

@JG2704 You love your point about aggressive players overcompensating when playing the long format. While I agree it's a very good point, I doubt Buttler would suffer it. Certainly in this series with flat pitches and while India's spinners should do the business, their seamers aren't the most potent. Also if Stokes plays and Buttler plays (As I said before Buttler won't play), Buttler could conceivably be batting 8, which would give him a lot of licence to attack.

Posted by ITJOBSUCKS on (July 9, 2014, 4:09 GMT)

@ FawltyBean Check the facts before posting anything!! India's overseas record is quite ito milar to SL with India ahead by 0.1, but SL is yet to win a Test in India/Aus!!!

Posted by Sexysteven on (July 8, 2014, 23:23 GMT)

I think u have to go with prior for abit longer and see if he can get back to his best form with bat and gloves I still think he has afew good years left in him he's coming back from injury so it's going take abit of time for him to get back to his best England do need his experienced in the batting order to help the new guys settle in I believe

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 8, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

@Chris Rotsey, Again I point out that 2 of the three you mention are In the middle of CC games, Read isnt but I'm not convinced of his test credentials he is 2-3 years older than prior and didnt really nail the job when he was given a chance.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 8, 2014, 19:06 GMT)

@Vinod_Fab on (July 8, 2014, 15:12 GMT) I think I read that they were preparing a dry pitch which seems really strange as this time India have the advantage in the spin dept with no Swann,Monty or specialised spinner.

If Buttler were to play I'd want him to play like he does in SFs but I get the idea he will rein it in too much. From reports on CC games and comms from genuine fans with no agenda I've heard that Jos is looking far from ready. We must remember that this is the 1st season he has been a full time wicket keeper. Personally I think Read should have been called up. The guy is one of our best glovemen and hid batting has been better this season and it's on his home. ground. As others have also pointed out , it was only recently that Cook said Buttler wasn't ready

Posted by   on (July 8, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

It is surely lunacy not to select a competent keeper in a five day test match. By common consent, Buttler is not ready so the logical choice lies between Bairstow (not yet a fully fledged Test keeper, but close, and a more than adequate Test number 7) Foster and Read. These two are both world class keepers who will save runs, take catches and stumpings, and pressure the opposition batsmen. Both average around 40 in the Championship (the same as Buttler!!!) and could bat at 8. The only point in calling up Buttler is if it is not thought he will play and he is there simply to gain experience and work on his keeping. If there is a chance Prior will not play, one of the other three should be there.

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