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Prior steps aside for the summer

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 21, 2014

Comments: 126 | Text size: A | A
It's Prior's decision - Cook

Matt Prior has decided to stand down from Test cricket for the rest of the summer due to injury. Prior has been suffering from an Achilles problem and will have an operation to rectify the issue that has hampered his performances this season.

Matt Prior trudges off the field after holing out in the deep, England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day, July 21, 2014
Matt Prior has struggled this summer © Getty Images

Prior has also been affected by quad and hand injuries and has been noticeably less mobile behind the stumps in four Tests this summer. He has only managed one half-century but his wicketkeeping has caused most concern with several missed chances and at Lord's equalling the record for most byes conceded in an innings for England.

"I'm not doing justice to myself and more importantly the team and that is what matters first and foremost," Prior told the Mirror. "I tore my quad before the first Test and my right hand has been beaten to a pulp, but the main issue is the Achilles.

"Now we have the time, I want to be pro-active about how we deal with it so I imagine that I'll have an operation. I've always said as long as I can do my job I will manage the pain and get on with it, but it has now got to the point where I can't do my job to the level I expect of myself."

The candidates to replace Prior

  • Jos Buttler (Age 23, Tests 0) The favourite for the role. Has proved himself a hugely talented batsman, but is in his first season as a full-time wicketkeeper in county cricket. Likley to be picked if the selectors feel that his early exposure - and the inevitable mistakes - will not damage his long term development.
  • Chris Read (Age 35, Tests 15) At almost 36, probably past his peak, but remains a fine gloveman and a far better batsman than when he last played Test cricket in 2007. A calm head and a successful captain of Nottinghamshire, could be the man if England are looking for a short-term solution.
  • James Foster (Age 34, Tests 5) Rated by some as the best wicketkeeper in the world and by Jack Russell as the best there has ever been, would certainly improve England's fielding. With Ben Stokes currently at No. 8, they could probably accommodate his more than respectable batting too.
  • Jonny Bairstow (Age 24, Tests 14) Took the gloves for the final two Tests of the Ashes in Australia but has slipped down the pecking order surprisingly quickly. Did not look an especially polished keeper in Australia and also has some batting flaws. But it is not so long since he hammered an impressive 95 against South Africa.

Prior failed to appear in the majority of Sussex's County Championship matches at the start of the season and had kept in only one full four-day match before the first Test against Sri Lanka. During that match he made his only significant score of the summer - a first innings 86 - before becoming beset by problems against the short ball, in addition to his shortcomings behind the stumps.

Prior's absence opens the door for England's one-day wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to make his Test debut in the third Test at the Ageas Bowl, a selection there was great clamour for at the start of England's Test summer.

The arrival of Buttler could mean Prior's 79th Test cap at Lord's could be his last, even if he does manage to regain full fitness.

"It is a huge decision and not one I've taken lightly obviously because I could have played my last game," Prior said. "Playing for England is the greatest honour you can have in the game and that is my motivation to come back and try and play again in the best possible condition.

"I've made my decision for the good of the team and whoever comes in I genuinely wish them the best of luck and hope they go well and perform and help the team win. That is all I want."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by maddy20 on (July 23, 2014, 11:43 GMT)

Am I the only one who feels Bairstow would have been a much better option?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2014, 22:10 GMT)

@ CodandChips on (July 22, 2014, 9:26 GMT) Chappell is widely regarded as the best player never to play for England.

@ SirViv1973 on (July 22, 2014, 9:14 GMT) I would still have gone for the best WK available - neither of the JBs. Re Ryan - yeah I know he retired. Just thought there may be a remote chance he'd want to miss out playing a few games for a well drilled/organised/probable championship winning side to play for England

Posted by SevereCritic on (July 22, 2014, 22:07 GMT)

Kudos to Prior for sticking it out for the first two tests with injury. I suppose, when your country asks you to represent them in a world stage, you tend to talk down minor injuries. Wishing him a speedy recovery. He is only 32. So a comeback isn't out of question.

Posted by CodandChips on (July 22, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

@Jose Puliampatta Prior's injuries were made public. The selectors cast a blind eye. They called up Buttler as reserve for the first test vs India.Prior always played through injury even when reserves were called up. Headingly 2009. Brisbane 2013. The Tino Best Test in 2012.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

I had been a supporter of Prior, and had stated many times that he was one of the most under-rated and much derided WK-Batsmen in the world cricket. Now, I am disappointed. Not at his quitting... But... for he not informing the selectors about his injuries; prior to the selection.

Prior had prior knowledge of his injuries. And, I presume, he didn't disclose. Players may or not disclose it, like Sehwag did and let down India on an overseas tour. How about the selectors? Don't hey have any system /process to identify such cases prior to the selection? Post-facto acceptance of players' decision puts the selectors in a poor light.

Or, did they knowingly cast a blind eye? And, partially jeopardized the team's chances? That puts them in a worse light. Selectors' everywhere seem to take such irrational decisions ! Quite shameful for such an august group of gentlemen!

Posted by Kulaputra on (July 22, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Good show Matt Prior. Thanks for the entertainment. Good luck for the rest of your career

Posted by   on (July 22, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

why not just play the whole yorkshire team, nearly all of them have been mentioned at some point, and are the best team in England by a million mile, they'd put up a better fight than most of these so called England player's, take root and balance out and who's going to score runs other than the tail?

Posted by   on (July 22, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

Has no-one considered bringing back Adil Rashid to hold up an end, pick up a wicket or two and score a fighting 30/40

Posted by Speng on (July 22, 2014, 11:38 GMT)

Torn quad, achilles problem, mangled hand? How was he on the team? on the one hand guys get dropped for uncertain reasons and on the other they hold onto some people for far too long. I know there is a desire not to go back to the bad old days of the 80-90s when there was revolving door in and out of a team but too many unfit players are being picked. The sidebar indicates there is a fair amount of talent available so why were they holding onto him for so long? Given the abuse that was being heaped on Prior by the public (who probably didn't know his injury situation) it certainly wasn't doing him any favors keeping him on while he was failing abjectly.

England should go with the best keeper they can find, as it's the bowling/fielding they need the most help with, and if the guy has experience and can help guide Cook with the bowling and field placements so much the better.

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