England news July 22, 2014

One battle too far for Prior

The last year has not been kind to Matt Prior but that should not diminish what he achieved for England and, if his career does prove to be over, he can be remembered as a key part of the period of sustained success
  shares 44

So another pillar of England's glory years is washed away.

Matt Prior's decision to take the rest of the summer off to recuperate from injury almost certainly ends an international career that has encompassed some of the brightest moments in England's recent Test history.

When England became the first side to win three Tests in a series in Australia by innings margins, Prior averaged 50 with the bat and claimed 23 catches. When England whitewashed India, at the time rated No. 1 in the Test rankings, in 2011, Prior averaged nearly 70 with the bat and again kept tidily. And when England came from behind to win in India in 2012, Prior again averaged 50 and held his own as keeper despite the workload demanded by two spinners and turning wickets.

The statistics are good - 4,099 Test runs and an average of 40.18 suggest he could probably have made it as a specialist batsman - but it was Prior's selflessness that rendered him one of the most valuable players of his generation. His first Test century, on debut in 2007, was typical: it provided the acceleration England required before a declaration. His final Test century, in Auckland in March 2013, was a masterful display of restraint and determination and saved a series that looked lost.

One image will endure: when Prior was informed he had been dropped from the Ashes team for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne at the end of 2013, he immediately congratulated and hugged his replacement, Jonny Bairstow, before giving him catching practice. You can tell a great deal about people from the way they react to disappointment. In such circumstances, Prior shone.

There were some hiccups along the way. His struggles, particularly with the gloves, towards the end of 2007 saw him dropped and he was rarely, by the very highest standards, as happy standing-up to the spinners as he was standing back to the seamers.

But it was often in adversity that Prior's ability came to the fore. And just as he responded to team crisis with his best performances, so he responded to his own failings by working harder than ever and coming back a better player. Until a recent dip, his keeping since his return to the team in late 2008, had been reassuringly sound.

For that reason he should probably not be written-off completely now. Like Jonathan Trott, he could return. But he will be 33 by the start of next season. It may well be, in time, that he is included - alongside Graeme Swann, Trott and even Andy Flower - in a list of those crushed by the remorselessness of England's schedule and the intensity of its environment. 32-year-olds should not be so broken.

So a return is unlikely. England need to find a replacement now and, if they decide the time is right to select Jos Buttler, need to give him a lengthy run in the team to allow him to develop. He, too, will have grim days. But he will benefit from the experience and needs to feel that he is more than Prior's deputy. England must not go back to the days when they selected highly promising young keepers - the likes of James Foster and Chris Read - and then abandoned them after they struggled to adjust.

This is the right decision, though. The Prior of 2014 threatens to compromise the reputation of the fine cricketer that represented England with distinction. He is clearly not as agile with his keeping and that lack of confidence has fed into his batting, where his shot-a-ball mentality was never going to succeed in Test cricket. Some of the chances he has put down have been desperately tough; several have not been. Many of the byes he has conceded have been no fault of his; but an uncomfortably large amount have been. He deserves credit for acknowledging that. He deserves credit for putting the team before himself.

Prior's comments raise questions about England's backroom operation, though. How was it was a man so palpably unfit, a man who had kept in only one Championship game in the season ahead of the first Test, selected for four Tests in succession? How was it that, despite the army of medics, the apparent professionalism of a system that scans and measures and monitors everything players do, a wicketkeeper was allowed to play when he had a quad injury and required an operation on his Achilles?

And why was it that, even after a Test in which Prior's performance was clearly inadequate, England's captain should suggest his selection was all but guaranteed should be want to continue? Has the England dressing room become so cosy a place that even the injured can be accommodated? Loyalty is a wonderful quality. But when it becomes blind, when it is to an individual and not a cause, then it becomes a weakness.

It is understandable that Cook wanted Prior around, though. With Trott and Swann gone, he is missing the trusted senior players he once had and needed Prior's experience in the field, in particular. James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who looks little fitter than Prior, need to answer their captain's call now.

There has been talk of a new era in England for some time now. And that is only right: the team must renew and refresh.

But that old era, the era of Prior and Cook and Anderson and Swann and Trott and Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen… it was quite something. There is no guarantee England will ever see the like again.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY jango_moh on | July 26, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    the "era" as mr dobell described it was a very good team who reached #1, but lets not kid anybody here, they were not even able to hold on to that spot as much as india.... i remember when india were #1, the commentators kept saying this was temporary and SA is the real #1, but as soon as england got the spot, they were the biggest thing that happened to cricket since the discovery of fire.... this might be a reason why the team fell apart!!!! i hope i see good cricket in the remaining 3 tests, and may the best team win....

  • POSTED BY anywayisok on | July 24, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    Seems like it would have been far better to drop Cook (can't bat anymore and is a pathetic captain) and Prior(can't bat any more or keep wicket) and make Pietersen the captain (someone who can bat and has a 100% record as captain in tests)

  • POSTED BY Johnny_129 on | July 23, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    Far too much is made of England reaching #1 in Tests - It was for a very brief period. While India were returning from the euphoria of a WC win and using aging bulls near retirement, England managed to snatch the top spot. But holding onto top spot is a more challenging task as they soon found out - Only Aust and WI have managed that for long. Even India and SA were on top longer than England! As for Prior, great player and great career - Prior and Swann were the backbones of England's brief golden period. Congrats to Prior.

  • POSTED BY STRIKETHUNDER on | July 23, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    This is weird. Both cricket and football were invented by the Britons yet they are unable to do well at international level in these sports. This year's FIFA WC was really sad to see. Getting knocked out from group stage was terrible. It is worse in cricket World Cup. They are yet to win a 50 over WC even after all these years. Hope they can break that hoodoo at next year's WC. But, what could be the reason for their failures ?

  • POSTED BY SquareLegs on | July 23, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    @wablo55 "England...failed to win a test match as the No 1". Very interesting, but wrong. They won one against Sri Lanka and two (and the series) against West Indies.

  • POSTED BY Sexysteven on | July 23, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    I don't think you should write prior off just yet he's still got afew good years left in him when he gets fit again taking the rest of the season off is a great move by prior his body obviously needs arest and time to recharge again and hopefully by next season he will fit and healthy and ready to challenge the incumbent keeper to get back in the side again to finish off his career the way it deserves to finish in agood way best of luck to prior lets hope he can do that

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | July 23, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    @ Tlotoxl. The thrashing was indeed the first test, & the series went downhill from there for Eng, culminating in Strauss' retirement. Personally I can't say he ever warmed my heart, but he was a damned fine skipper who held that team together, led from the front & took them to the top. Probably the most underrated skipper in recent times. I'm not English and I believe that!

    When I say "never recovered," I meant, & I thought I had made it clear, that the loss of Strauss was key. I guess I could just say Eng never recovered from the simultaneous loss of Strauss & their position at the top of the rankings. It was a double blow, and bits & pieces have been falling off ever since.

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | July 23, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    What i see is the team eng no1 is now no more. We have now cook, bell, anderson and broad, who are not effective with their own form and not getting much from others

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | July 23, 2014, 2:03 GMT

    I said it before the start of the Sri Lanka series: Prior, having proven neither his fitness nor his form, was selected as a specialist vice captain.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Sad to see him go, a truly decent guy and one of the few England players i have genuine respect for.

  • POSTED BY jango_moh on | July 26, 2014, 3:13 GMT

    the "era" as mr dobell described it was a very good team who reached #1, but lets not kid anybody here, they were not even able to hold on to that spot as much as india.... i remember when india were #1, the commentators kept saying this was temporary and SA is the real #1, but as soon as england got the spot, they were the biggest thing that happened to cricket since the discovery of fire.... this might be a reason why the team fell apart!!!! i hope i see good cricket in the remaining 3 tests, and may the best team win....

  • POSTED BY anywayisok on | July 24, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    Seems like it would have been far better to drop Cook (can't bat anymore and is a pathetic captain) and Prior(can't bat any more or keep wicket) and make Pietersen the captain (someone who can bat and has a 100% record as captain in tests)

  • POSTED BY Johnny_129 on | July 23, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    Far too much is made of England reaching #1 in Tests - It was for a very brief period. While India were returning from the euphoria of a WC win and using aging bulls near retirement, England managed to snatch the top spot. But holding onto top spot is a more challenging task as they soon found out - Only Aust and WI have managed that for long. Even India and SA were on top longer than England! As for Prior, great player and great career - Prior and Swann were the backbones of England's brief golden period. Congrats to Prior.

  • POSTED BY STRIKETHUNDER on | July 23, 2014, 14:50 GMT

    This is weird. Both cricket and football were invented by the Britons yet they are unable to do well at international level in these sports. This year's FIFA WC was really sad to see. Getting knocked out from group stage was terrible. It is worse in cricket World Cup. They are yet to win a 50 over WC even after all these years. Hope they can break that hoodoo at next year's WC. But, what could be the reason for their failures ?

  • POSTED BY SquareLegs on | July 23, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    @wablo55 "England...failed to win a test match as the No 1". Very interesting, but wrong. They won one against Sri Lanka and two (and the series) against West Indies.

  • POSTED BY Sexysteven on | July 23, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    I don't think you should write prior off just yet he's still got afew good years left in him when he gets fit again taking the rest of the season off is a great move by prior his body obviously needs arest and time to recharge again and hopefully by next season he will fit and healthy and ready to challenge the incumbent keeper to get back in the side again to finish off his career the way it deserves to finish in agood way best of luck to prior lets hope he can do that

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | July 23, 2014, 6:24 GMT

    @ Tlotoxl. The thrashing was indeed the first test, & the series went downhill from there for Eng, culminating in Strauss' retirement. Personally I can't say he ever warmed my heart, but he was a damned fine skipper who held that team together, led from the front & took them to the top. Probably the most underrated skipper in recent times. I'm not English and I believe that!

    When I say "never recovered," I meant, & I thought I had made it clear, that the loss of Strauss was key. I guess I could just say Eng never recovered from the simultaneous loss of Strauss & their position at the top of the rankings. It was a double blow, and bits & pieces have been falling off ever since.

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | July 23, 2014, 4:09 GMT

    What i see is the team eng no1 is now no more. We have now cook, bell, anderson and broad, who are not effective with their own form and not getting much from others

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | July 23, 2014, 2:03 GMT

    I said it before the start of the Sri Lanka series: Prior, having proven neither his fitness nor his form, was selected as a specialist vice captain.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Sad to see him go, a truly decent guy and one of the few England players i have genuine respect for.

  • POSTED BY GermanPlayer on | July 22, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    @xtrafalgerx I sure do rate Prior as the best wk of the last 5 years among those who came in at 6 or 7. But Sanga and especially AB surpass him by a long shot...

    But I have to say his aggression lower down the order was a key part of the English team. I liked it a lot especially against the Aussies.

  • POSTED BY inswing on | July 22, 2014, 19:17 GMT

    Prior is only 32. It would be foolish to write him off. He has a good 3-4 years left in him, if fit. Let him get healthy and come back, instead of keeping him out to give Buttler a "sustained run". Wicketkeepers that average 40 don't grow on trees.

  • POSTED BY baskar_guha on | July 22, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    As someone watching the English team from the outside, Prior has been a tough competitor whose wicket had a price on it and who counterattacked as well as anyone in the middle/lower order. Hard to find players with such ability and toughness. His glove work has not been great of late but still passable. He will be missed if he decides to retire.

  • POSTED BY rachetbetty on | July 22, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    This England set up is crazy. There has been a clique in this team for a long time : Cook, Broad, Anderson, and Prior. All are vastly overrated , and frankly are all believing of the hype!! Yes the have Ok records , but bear in mind that broad and Anderson's record do not stack up favourable against Gough and Caddick, Prior is certainly not better than Alec Stewart. Those guys all played in losing English teams. There has been a selfishness for a long time , with these people in the dressing room, and management have allowed this to happen. Could anyone say this would be a worse England team , with Compton, Pietersen , and Panesar . It is interesting that when Lehman took over Australia he stated that he would find a way to include everyone and coach all of the team, weather that meant having a beer with them or a Gatorade, personalities didn't matter.

  • POSTED BY bonobo on | July 22, 2014, 18:33 GMT

    Why are the British cricket writers always trying to finish careers. We never get full value from our players. Most of us agree Prior should not be in the team at the moment, but he is 32 and it was only a year ago he was voted England's player if the year. Look at Brad Haddin, being dropped in his mid-30s and coming back better than ever. It's rare you get world class players, which Prior has been, so let's not waste it.

  • POSTED BY Tlotoxl on | July 22, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    Greatest Game: "Lets face it. England have never recovered from the thrashing SA gave them in 2012." really? thrashed in the first test yes (which happens in pretty much every Eng series), a fairly close draw in which England had a small first innings lead in the second and England could have settled for a draw in the third but pushed for a win in the third falling just short (again Eng has a first innings lead).

    The problem IMHO is a combination of the punishing schedule of 16 tests & 27 ODIs in 14 months, the loss of Trott, KP and Swann and the lack of form in the last few months of most of the established squad.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | July 22, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Lets face it. England have never recovered from the thrashing SA gave them in 2012. They have been careening downhill ever since, beginning with Strauss' resignation. He was their best skipper in a long time, and with him went the team. The only players remaining - Cook, Bell, Prior, Anderson & Broad are declining ever more rapidly.

    England need a strong skipper to pull the team back together, & put it in order.

  • POSTED BY princenag25 on | July 22, 2014, 16:06 GMT

    So Prior understood in the middle of the series that he has a injury?? After letting through the most number of Byes by an English Keeper.... Better say he is honorably discharged...... India teams of the Old are known for building Careers, hope this one just does the opposite

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | July 22, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    In hindsight, that English side of 2010/11 was a really, really good side. Maybe even great. The team unity, the sense of purpose, the skill and diligence was second to none. Things always seem better looking backwards, but i agree - they really were something and Prior was a key cog of that machine.

    Prior has had a great career, and looks like he is a great team man. He gave it all he had and it is true he has been ordinary for 12 months now, but the previous 5 years before this one he has been undoubtedly the best batsman/keeper in the world.

  • POSTED BY wablo55 on | July 22, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    Re the romanticised never-to-seen-again 'old era' - let's get some perspective. England in that old era were certainly a better side than they are now, but their achievements were mainly against a Aussie side and an Indian side in total shambles. Whenever they came accross a team that was well organised - they lost or struggled. Let us not forget that the 'old era' England side - though rising to No 1 in the rankings - failed to win a test match as the No 1. Their tenure as No1 was as little as a few short months - less than half the time the much maligned Indians spent at No1. So before elevating the 'old era' side to mythical status because they nailed bad Aussie sides, and were also ably assisted by home tours in April/May, let's remember the facts. And also, that there is definitely the players and the resources in England to generate another team of the same quality - maybe even better. Doom and gloomy prognostications help no one. That's not what fight and tenacity is all about.

  • POSTED BY Madpashcrickers on | July 22, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    "Prior's comments raise questions about England's backroom operation, though. How was it was a man so palpably unfit, a man who had kept in only one Championship game in the season ahead of the first Test, was selected for four Tests in succession?"

    Spot on George, the management is dysfunctional - clearly a coterie of the chosen ones have been allowed to select themselves even when unfit and injured - witness Swann, Prior and Broad. There has been little genuine competition for places so the standard has declined alarmingly.

    "How was it that, despite the army of medics, the apparent professionalism of a system that scans and measures and monitors everything players do, a wicketkeeper was allowed to play when he had a quad injury..?"

    Again an acute observation George which is symptomatic of the malaise you diagnosed in other blogs of yours - the culture of spreadsheets which funnily enough always seem to produce the right answer as far as the important people are concerned.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 14:43 GMT

    I Hope Matt Prior makes a great come back, Fit and Fine and I Want to see Prior of Old..All The best Matt..

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Matt was for sure one of the best batsman this era of England has seen..always enjoyed him batting and yes few bad performance does not make a player not fit for the level. But also gradually England needs to introduce some one younger than matt to their team for future

  • POSTED BY Flash_hard27 on | July 22, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    @MuthuKumar_Vanalingam - Are you for real? What sanctimonious rubbish, England are in this position because the ECB are working the players to the bone. Some facts - Since England started their run up to and slide down from the world's No1 ranking in 2009, nine men in the world have played more than 49 Tests. Top of the list is Cook, with 61. Behind him are Bell and Anderson, both struggling to find their best form, and Kevin Pietersen, who has been dropped. Then there are Prior and Swann, both with bodies too broken to play on longer, Trott, who is emotionally exhausted, and Broad, who has a severe knee injury. The only non-English player on the list is Michael Clarke. Anderson, as detailed in The Spin last week, has a workload which is almost unmatched by any other fast bowler in history of Test cricket. No one, certainly, has ever bowled more Test deliveries in two back-to-back years. Thanks for everything Matt Prior.

  • POSTED BY Dave1965 on | July 22, 2014, 14:27 GMT

    Perfect opportunity now to bring in the best keeper and the best captain in county cricket, bring Chris Read into the team to replace Prior and give him the captaincy as well.

  • POSTED BY vpadmana on | July 22, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    Prior should not lose hopes of making a comeback. Once he's fit again - physically and mentally, he should make a run at it. He can take heart from the story of a guy like Brad Haddin, who made his debut at age 30 and is still going strong.

  • POSTED BY MuthuKumar_Vanalingam on | July 22, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Ever since english players were involved in the relieving incident on oval pitch, they have not won even a single game of test cricket. They are losing to poor travellers like India/SL. It just goes to prove how much you need to respect the game to succeed. Very hard to imagine sachin/dravid/mahela/Sanga doing that ever and it also goes to show how much they respected the game and got their success.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    Prior has always put the team first, and his decision to make himself unavailable, to deal with his injuries, seems to be an example of this. He's been a fine player for England for several years with both bat and gloves (how often has an aggressive 60 or 70 from Prior turned an innings in England's favour?), and I wish him well.

    I also wish Alastair Cook well. England needs him scoring runs at the top of the order. Can I direct him to the recent actions of Prior and Steven Gerrard, so we get the important Cook back?

  • POSTED BY alipk52 on | July 22, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    Prior is the best, there's trend going on there in English Cricket - "One or two bad season, and you're out of here" or "I can't play cricket anymore" this is the reason of demise for England in recent times, They need those who tend to take the game away from opposition very quickly, Piererson was the 1st to go, and now Prior.. They need Trott, Peterson and prior, plus a spinner in Monty, I don't like Robson at all, they need to open With Cook And Ballance/Ali, and replace Robson with Buttler, keep Prior as batsman as there're currently no game changer Batsman except Bell & prior in the line up, reselecting KP and trott witll be too good.

  • POSTED BY Stevros3 on | July 22, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    England's Options: Read, Foster, Bairstow or Butler. Left feld Selection choices: Davis or Ambrose (I'll admit I'm a Warwickshire fan so I've seen more of Ambrose recently and his keeping is much improved from when he was dropped and does have more international experience than the rest)

    Personally I'd go with Foster, anyone Alec Stewart describes as the best keeper in the world isn't a bad choice in my opinion, though I haven't seen enough between him and Read to seperate them properly. Bairstow has shown he is certainly not ready just yet, and I think that Butler being let go by his county as Kieswetter was Somerset's first choice speaks volumes as to his readieness yet for the scene (If Kieswetter wasn't injured then I'd put him fairly high up replacements)

    Long term I think Kieswetter or Butler should be the two most looked at (unless someone else comes through) but for the next 12 months or so I'd pick Foster/Read and give them a run in the side.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    Happens to every team once a decade...no exceptions here...that's how it works...Time moves one...Australia faced it Mcgrath, Gilly, warne, martyn, hyden, langer. India did with the Fab 4.....Srilanka will be in the same phase once sanga and mahela are not there....

  • POSTED BY Speng on | July 22, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    So for the second time in a year a veteran player has to put his hand up and say "please don't select me, I'm knackered" ... It does no one a favor by playing walking wounded. Swanny basically said his arm was falling off and he couldn't tweak a baby's nose much less a cricket ball 30 overs per inning yet England would probably still be picking him if he hadn't retired. It's not like Prior's career's been cut short - 79 Tests isn't a cameo. Hopefully he'll be remembered for what he was at the top of his game and not for his recent form as a dead horse flogged.

  • POSTED BY guycollier118 on | July 22, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    The ultimate team man and a true great of English Test cricket. Matt, you are a legend to be celebrated, never mocked.

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | July 22, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    As an Indian fan I would love England continue in the current methods - on field and especially administration-wise. It looks like they got no clue as on what they are trying to achieve. They call it a new Era. There is nothing new to the team though. Got great respect for Prior and with this decision it only increased. But for Cook to stand up on the podium and say, "Prior is the best available wicket keeper batsman in the country today" just so that his inclusion with an injury is justified is clear evidence of having no clue. Rather than guiding English Cricket to a NEW ERA, they are now bound with proving and justifying their biased decisions in terms of team selection and Team as a whole. I hope this continue for the near future and allow India to score a Thumping Series victory. If Cook had any integrity, he should have stepped down after the series loss to Sri Lanka. For him to say "I have won tests and also won ODI's before" is simply put PATHETIC.

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | July 22, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    Isn't it a bit premature to write obituaries on Prior's career. He only stood down, not retired. He isn't that old either at 32/33. He is good enough to come in as a specialist middle order batsman when fit and in form.

  • POSTED BY vstrider on | July 22, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    If this is the end, then Matt Prior we salute you, great guy fantastic player one of England's best, still in my opinion nobody in England anywhere near this class yet

  • POSTED BY Somya7 on | July 22, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Selectors listen up - u have to pick this squad and we will win for sure -

    Cook , Carberry , KP , Root , Bell , Ballance , Kieswetter ( i guess he ain't fit now ) / Steven Davies (WK) , Gareth Batty , Broad , Anderson (C), Onions.

    Extras - Compton , Panesar , Finn , James Taylor.

    Why these people are out ?

    Robson - He is rusty. Kind of Cook , gets out poking outside off stump and need 2 more county seasons.

    Stokes - Zero as a player with no batting form in.

    Plunkett - Not a test bowler...he is good but only when batsman play him. They let his balls go...so i guess a very good odi bowler where batsman need to play more shots and he could be handy.

    Kerrigan - Indins can play spin with eyes shut , he ain't good enough..believe me he ain't and would never be.

    why in -

    Cook - will fire with no skipping burden .

    Batty - Best spinner in England now..have seen him bowling. Ripping bowling spells...

    Onions - what does he need to be back in England fold. Best bowler in County

  • POSTED BY robert1981 on | July 22, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Basingrad. I agree with your idea. A good keeper, experienced Pro whom Cook can benefit from. James Foster is the ideal man. He's an Essex boy, tough as old nails and great keeper. Buttler needs time keeping, I'm not sure it needs to be at Test Level yet. I'd keep him in county cricket for these 3 tests, play him in the ODI's etc and look to play him in the tests in the West Indies. I would also consider giving Foster the captaincy if it's felt that Cook needs a break rather then the sack.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | July 22, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    Right, George! There is an appparent lack of clarity in the line of command in the England dressing room. There is no one who's really calling the shots - because If there had been, then that man (Moores? Cook? The Chair of Selectors?) would have said: 'Thanks, Matt. Your absolute commitment to the cause is never in question, but you are not fit. You must step down.' But that didn't happen. There was probably a huddle - then someone said: 'Let's ask Matt. Let him decide.' So he did, and we saw what happened. And that type of muddle-through, make-do-for-thinking & its implicit lack of one-man responsibility now characterizes England's position. It ill serves the cause. Now would some one just pick up this hot potato called Responsibility and tell Stuart Broad. You are not fit. You are not playing. If you leave it to SB, we all know what he'll say! Ah me, what a state our cricket is in. Where are our generals, on or off the field?

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    Im inclined to agree with Basingrad. Whoever the keeper selected is (almost certainly Buttler) they will have to 'FIT' with the team ethics, ie blind unflinching loyalty to the team regardless of whether its warranted or not. Too many players have been jettisoned by England recently for daring to question the regime that is causing players in their late 20's and early 30's to completely burn out. Through over coaching, over playing and blind obedience to the holy Mammon. Form and fitness have little to do with selection these days just being that perfect little square block in the square hole. I am not sure how Buttler will feel when he walks out on the park to keep for England knowing that his captain very recently stated to the worlds media that he is not good enough for test cricket. And like many other things I don't think Cook called that one right either.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 22, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    I hope the selectors will learn from Matt Prior's career that the priority (no pun intended) for an England wicketkeeper is to keep wicket. Prior was brought up for his batting, wasn't a good enough keeper and had to go back to the county game until he could do the job. Now that he's been playing hurt, he hasn't been able to keep adequately and the chances have gone down. In test cricket, where the best batsmen give the fewest chances, it's imperative that every possible chance is taken.

    If the selectors choose Buttler, who by his own admission isn't yet a good enough keeper, or Bairstow, who is at best adequate, the same thing is going to happen. They'll miss key chances behind the stumps and that will cost England games- not only for the extra runs a reprieved batsman scores, but also for the damaging effect on the morale of the bowlers. Broad with an early wicket and his tail up is very different from Broad who just saw a catch go down.

    Pick the BEST KEEPER. Please.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    Lets hope that this is not the end of his international career.

  • POSTED BY tambolisamir on | July 22, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Prior is one of the best keeper England have produced after Stewart. No doubt ECB will find extremely difficult to fill his shoes.Hope it will help Indian team in last three test's.

  • POSTED BY Basingrad on | July 22, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    George, I think that final comment on Cook needing his trusted senior players around ought to point the selectors in the direction of Read rather than Buttler. A keeper of the highest quality, a batsman as gritty and determined as anyone out there in division one these days and an experienced leader and tactician. Surely, Cook would benefit more from having him alongside him than from standing next to a nervous debutant? Buttler isn't ready to keep in Test cricket and his batting still isn't hardened to the longer form, as Somerset's decision to jettison him and keep Kieswetter (incidentally, if David Willey hadn't unwittingly rearranged his face, Kieswetter still looks the best long-term alternative to Prior to me) makes pretty clear.

    However, Cook won't want an outsider with strong views supposedly undermining him, so he will get his way and the spineless chain of command will acquiesce. England's system is utterly broken and I fear we have yet to reach the nadir...

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Basingrad on | July 22, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    George, I think that final comment on Cook needing his trusted senior players around ought to point the selectors in the direction of Read rather than Buttler. A keeper of the highest quality, a batsman as gritty and determined as anyone out there in division one these days and an experienced leader and tactician. Surely, Cook would benefit more from having him alongside him than from standing next to a nervous debutant? Buttler isn't ready to keep in Test cricket and his batting still isn't hardened to the longer form, as Somerset's decision to jettison him and keep Kieswetter (incidentally, if David Willey hadn't unwittingly rearranged his face, Kieswetter still looks the best long-term alternative to Prior to me) makes pretty clear.

    However, Cook won't want an outsider with strong views supposedly undermining him, so he will get his way and the spineless chain of command will acquiesce. England's system is utterly broken and I fear we have yet to reach the nadir...

  • POSTED BY tambolisamir on | July 22, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Prior is one of the best keeper England have produced after Stewart. No doubt ECB will find extremely difficult to fill his shoes.Hope it will help Indian team in last three test's.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    Lets hope that this is not the end of his international career.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 22, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    I hope the selectors will learn from Matt Prior's career that the priority (no pun intended) for an England wicketkeeper is to keep wicket. Prior was brought up for his batting, wasn't a good enough keeper and had to go back to the county game until he could do the job. Now that he's been playing hurt, he hasn't been able to keep adequately and the chances have gone down. In test cricket, where the best batsmen give the fewest chances, it's imperative that every possible chance is taken.

    If the selectors choose Buttler, who by his own admission isn't yet a good enough keeper, or Bairstow, who is at best adequate, the same thing is going to happen. They'll miss key chances behind the stumps and that will cost England games- not only for the extra runs a reprieved batsman scores, but also for the damaging effect on the morale of the bowlers. Broad with an early wicket and his tail up is very different from Broad who just saw a catch go down.

    Pick the BEST KEEPER. Please.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    Im inclined to agree with Basingrad. Whoever the keeper selected is (almost certainly Buttler) they will have to 'FIT' with the team ethics, ie blind unflinching loyalty to the team regardless of whether its warranted or not. Too many players have been jettisoned by England recently for daring to question the regime that is causing players in their late 20's and early 30's to completely burn out. Through over coaching, over playing and blind obedience to the holy Mammon. Form and fitness have little to do with selection these days just being that perfect little square block in the square hole. I am not sure how Buttler will feel when he walks out on the park to keep for England knowing that his captain very recently stated to the worlds media that he is not good enough for test cricket. And like many other things I don't think Cook called that one right either.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | July 22, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    Right, George! There is an appparent lack of clarity in the line of command in the England dressing room. There is no one who's really calling the shots - because If there had been, then that man (Moores? Cook? The Chair of Selectors?) would have said: 'Thanks, Matt. Your absolute commitment to the cause is never in question, but you are not fit. You must step down.' But that didn't happen. There was probably a huddle - then someone said: 'Let's ask Matt. Let him decide.' So he did, and we saw what happened. And that type of muddle-through, make-do-for-thinking & its implicit lack of one-man responsibility now characterizes England's position. It ill serves the cause. Now would some one just pick up this hot potato called Responsibility and tell Stuart Broad. You are not fit. You are not playing. If you leave it to SB, we all know what he'll say! Ah me, what a state our cricket is in. Where are our generals, on or off the field?

  • POSTED BY robert1981 on | July 22, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Basingrad. I agree with your idea. A good keeper, experienced Pro whom Cook can benefit from. James Foster is the ideal man. He's an Essex boy, tough as old nails and great keeper. Buttler needs time keeping, I'm not sure it needs to be at Test Level yet. I'd keep him in county cricket for these 3 tests, play him in the ODI's etc and look to play him in the tests in the West Indies. I would also consider giving Foster the captaincy if it's felt that Cook needs a break rather then the sack.

  • POSTED BY Somya7 on | July 22, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Selectors listen up - u have to pick this squad and we will win for sure -

    Cook , Carberry , KP , Root , Bell , Ballance , Kieswetter ( i guess he ain't fit now ) / Steven Davies (WK) , Gareth Batty , Broad , Anderson (C), Onions.

    Extras - Compton , Panesar , Finn , James Taylor.

    Why these people are out ?

    Robson - He is rusty. Kind of Cook , gets out poking outside off stump and need 2 more county seasons.

    Stokes - Zero as a player with no batting form in.

    Plunkett - Not a test bowler...he is good but only when batsman play him. They let his balls go...so i guess a very good odi bowler where batsman need to play more shots and he could be handy.

    Kerrigan - Indins can play spin with eyes shut , he ain't good enough..believe me he ain't and would never be.

    why in -

    Cook - will fire with no skipping burden .

    Batty - Best spinner in England now..have seen him bowling. Ripping bowling spells...

    Onions - what does he need to be back in England fold. Best bowler in County

  • POSTED BY vstrider on | July 22, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    If this is the end, then Matt Prior we salute you, great guy fantastic player one of England's best, still in my opinion nobody in England anywhere near this class yet

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | July 22, 2014, 12:01 GMT

    Isn't it a bit premature to write obituaries on Prior's career. He only stood down, not retired. He isn't that old either at 32/33. He is good enough to come in as a specialist middle order batsman when fit and in form.