England v West Indies, 3rd Test, Edgbaston June 6, 2012

Davies called up as Prior cover

ESPNcricinfo staff
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England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has been passed fit for the Edgbaston Test after having picked up an eye infection earlier. Steven Davies, the Surrey wicketkeeper, was drafted into the England squad as cover for Prior for the third Test.

Davies, who was playing in the County Championship against Sussex at Horsham, has been released back to his club. He has yet to play Test cricket but has been the reserve Test keeper of the last two years for series against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Prior, though, a day before the game, was confident he would be able to play. "I expect to be fine to play tomorrow," he said on Twitter. "The management have got cover in as a precaution on the off chance my vision is affected!"

Davies has played eight one-day internationals and five Twenty20s with his most recent appearance coming against Australia in Perth last February during the one-day series where he found out he had been left out of the World Cup squad in favour of Prior.

His call-up came despite England having Jonny Bairstow, who keeps wicket for Yorkshire, in the side to face West Indies. Bairstow is the regular wicketkeeper for England Lions, but this decision suggests the management feel he is not ready for the role in a Test match or they do not want to burden him with another task while he is trying to forge a place as a batsman.

Prior has played 39 consecutive Tests, not missing a match since he flew home from the Caribbean during the 2009 tour for the birth of his child and skipping the Barbados Test. On that occasion Tim Ambrose, the Warwickshire wicketkeeper, took his place.


Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY wibblewibble on | June 7, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge I'd be surprised if we get two days of play - 180 overs - total in the game.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 7, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    @Tom_Bowler on (June 07 2012, 08:56 AM GMT) Players mature at different ages.Trott was not much younger when he made his test debut and wasn't being discussed that much prior to his call up. As a bowler (even in his 30s) Ajmal has become a totally different animal in the test arena. While he had a bad inns at Lords , surely all decent players , even when in nick (pardon the pun) can have the odd lapse.Surely the total runs he's scored this season , combined with the average , combined with the fact he's doing it in the 1st division surely suggest he is as good a candidate as any to take the number 6 position. Also he is more experienced which could count for something in a huge series vs SA

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | June 7, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Exposing the lack of depth once again England!

  • POSTED BY Tom_Bowler on | June 7, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    I see Nick Compton is being suggested as an England player, I suppose it's understandable given his recent form but I don't rate him myself. He's just shy of 29 and is in his ninth season as a pro, if he was going to make it he would have done so by now. I sat at Lords on Monday and watched him get bowled leaving one on off stump, Tim Murtagh is a fine county bowler but I wouldn't fancy sending a batsman out to face Dale Steyn who can't judge Dial M no matter how many hundreds he has made at Taunton. Hildreth on the other hand looked very well organised, he struggled a bit with his timing but he was technically very correct. It seems unlikely Davies will play but if he does he deserves it in my opinion, Foster is still the best pure keeper in the country but sadly for him if he was going to get back in the reckoning he'd have done so before now, Davies looks as good as anyone else to me and there's a realistic prospect he might be a long term successor to Prior.

  • POSTED BY wibblewibble on | June 7, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge I'd be surprised if we get two days of play - 180 overs - total in the game.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 7, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @SirViv1973 They won't do the 5 man attack anyway.I know that we have usually done well with just the 4 bowlers on home turf but I really don't see the point in our particular team obsessively trying to get a 6th batsman in with little/no success without even trying the 5 man bowling attack. So what if WI/Aus preferred 6/1/4 - they both naturally had more batting depth. There were times in UAE when our 4 man attack laboured when the extra man might have made all the difference and even in the last test when WI were 300+-6 , people on here were calling for Finn to replace Bresnan, What's wrong with having both? If WI can score those runs against a 4 man attack what might SA do. 5 man attack and you are going to get a more constant intensity. Also our number 7 and 8 has averaged better than our number 6 in the last year or so , so how much of a luxury is a number 6 batsman who does nothing with the ball? In 2005 we almost certainly would not have regained the ashes with anything

  • POSTED BY MrPontingToYou on | June 7, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    @ prasssnuu, how many chances do you want bopara to have? he has failed everytime except against the 'mighty' wi. bairstow is also not test class, nothing wrong with bringing davies in as cover for prior. but taylor should replace bairstow.

  • POSTED BY prannsshu on | June 7, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    why nt bairstrow given the glove works.. as his batting has proved him zero on test level.. why not bopara.. who came back wid 1 120 not out and 65 not out..... when will u give chance to bopara?????

  • POSTED BY demon_bowler on | June 7, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Of course Davies is still the reserve wicket-keeper. The England management are not stupid. They realize that Bairstow is nowhere near good enough to keep wicket at ODI level yet, let alone in tests, where he needs to concentrate on establishing himself as a batsman. Some rather silly suggestions on here.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    Reading the comments on this issue so far, there appears to be fair bit of cynicism on bringing Davies into the team. For what its worth, i personally believe this is a perfectly acceptable move on behalf of the England management. For a while now Davies has been the reserve test keeper so it is no surprise for him to be called up. From what i have seen of him is he is both a good bat and keeper so the balance of the side will not be harmed with his inclusion. In regards to Bairstow, it is clear that the management believes his batting abilities are of prime concern.

  • POSTED BY wibblewibble on | June 7, 2012, 15:14 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge I'd be surprised if we get two days of play - 180 overs - total in the game.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 7, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    @Tom_Bowler on (June 07 2012, 08:56 AM GMT) Players mature at different ages.Trott was not much younger when he made his test debut and wasn't being discussed that much prior to his call up. As a bowler (even in his 30s) Ajmal has become a totally different animal in the test arena. While he had a bad inns at Lords , surely all decent players , even when in nick (pardon the pun) can have the odd lapse.Surely the total runs he's scored this season , combined with the average , combined with the fact he's doing it in the 1st division surely suggest he is as good a candidate as any to take the number 6 position. Also he is more experienced which could count for something in a huge series vs SA

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | June 7, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Exposing the lack of depth once again England!

  • POSTED BY Tom_Bowler on | June 7, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    I see Nick Compton is being suggested as an England player, I suppose it's understandable given his recent form but I don't rate him myself. He's just shy of 29 and is in his ninth season as a pro, if he was going to make it he would have done so by now. I sat at Lords on Monday and watched him get bowled leaving one on off stump, Tim Murtagh is a fine county bowler but I wouldn't fancy sending a batsman out to face Dale Steyn who can't judge Dial M no matter how many hundreds he has made at Taunton. Hildreth on the other hand looked very well organised, he struggled a bit with his timing but he was technically very correct. It seems unlikely Davies will play but if he does he deserves it in my opinion, Foster is still the best pure keeper in the country but sadly for him if he was going to get back in the reckoning he'd have done so before now, Davies looks as good as anyone else to me and there's a realistic prospect he might be a long term successor to Prior.

  • POSTED BY wibblewibble on | June 7, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge I'd be surprised if we get two days of play - 180 overs - total in the game.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 7, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @SirViv1973 They won't do the 5 man attack anyway.I know that we have usually done well with just the 4 bowlers on home turf but I really don't see the point in our particular team obsessively trying to get a 6th batsman in with little/no success without even trying the 5 man bowling attack. So what if WI/Aus preferred 6/1/4 - they both naturally had more batting depth. There were times in UAE when our 4 man attack laboured when the extra man might have made all the difference and even in the last test when WI were 300+-6 , people on here were calling for Finn to replace Bresnan, What's wrong with having both? If WI can score those runs against a 4 man attack what might SA do. 5 man attack and you are going to get a more constant intensity. Also our number 7 and 8 has averaged better than our number 6 in the last year or so , so how much of a luxury is a number 6 batsman who does nothing with the ball? In 2005 we almost certainly would not have regained the ashes with anything

  • POSTED BY MrPontingToYou on | June 7, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    @ prasssnuu, how many chances do you want bopara to have? he has failed everytime except against the 'mighty' wi. bairstow is also not test class, nothing wrong with bringing davies in as cover for prior. but taylor should replace bairstow.

  • POSTED BY prannsshu on | June 7, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    why nt bairstrow given the glove works.. as his batting has proved him zero on test level.. why not bopara.. who came back wid 1 120 not out and 65 not out..... when will u give chance to bopara?????

  • POSTED BY demon_bowler on | June 7, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Of course Davies is still the reserve wicket-keeper. The England management are not stupid. They realize that Bairstow is nowhere near good enough to keep wicket at ODI level yet, let alone in tests, where he needs to concentrate on establishing himself as a batsman. Some rather silly suggestions on here.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    Reading the comments on this issue so far, there appears to be fair bit of cynicism on bringing Davies into the team. For what its worth, i personally believe this is a perfectly acceptable move on behalf of the England management. For a while now Davies has been the reserve test keeper so it is no surprise for him to be called up. From what i have seen of him is he is both a good bat and keeper so the balance of the side will not be harmed with his inclusion. In regards to Bairstow, it is clear that the management believes his batting abilities are of prime concern.

  • POSTED BY AdrianVanDenStael on | June 6, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    @ Phil Katon: interesting theory, but I seem to remember Bairstow made a very impressive run out in the first test. We've still yet to see the positive effect any consonant boost to his confidence from such sterling work in the field has had on his batting. Perhaps Roach's absence will have more of an effect ...

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | June 6, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    @njr, Have just looked up de Kock, He's made an extremely impressive start to his first class career with the bat, but he's only 19 so its a bit premature to say hes going to be better than Gilchrist. We also don't know how good he is behind the stumps he could yet end up becoming a specialist batsman. Anyway if he is that good we could see him playing for the saffers sooner rather than later as Boucher is retiring this year, he himself was only 20 when he first played a test in 98.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 22:40 GMT

    Surely if Prior is unfit then Bairstow should keep. Let's not forget he IS a first choice county WK!!! Then we could play an extra bowler with little detrimental effect to the batting. It's not as if Bairstow has been setting the world alight with his batting anyway. Maybe even the fact he is keeping, and therefore helping the team immensely, would let him chill out a bit, and perform with the blade (although I have a feeling they are thinking along the lines of Sangakkara's record-Bairstow is no Sanga!!). Imagine if he took a couple of fantastic catches, especially with England fielding first-he would feel involved and valued, and with less riding on his batting performance from his point of view. This is my only concern with this England set-up; a lack of willingness to take any kind of risk, even if the potential pay-off is massive.

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | June 6, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    Good to see he is still no.2. A sublime batsman when set.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | June 6, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Have a look at that weather forecast... England have often had to win despite the weather in the last few years during their rise to being the world's number 1 team, looks like this match is going to have perhaps two days lost to rain. And it's June!

  • POSTED BY njr1330 on | June 6, 2012, 22:06 GMT

    On the subject of wicketkeepers having to bat, we all like to console ourselves by saying: 'Gilchrist was a one-off' ... er, apparently not. My South African friends say that there is a young keeper in SA called Quinton de Kock, who makes Gilly's batting look slow and ponderous! Just what all non-batting keepers needed to hear!

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | June 6, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    @JG2704, Engs bowling unit on home turf at least is so good that they only need 4 bowlers. I've probably made this point before but look at the 2 greatest teams of the last 30 yrs WI in the 80's & Aus of late 90s 00s both played almost exclusively with only 4 bowlers. The problem is if you play 5 bowlers more often than not one of them will not do much bowling. However I do believe in horses for courses & on the slow flat surfaces of the sub continent it is a viable option especially if Bresnan, Broad & Swann are 3 of the 5, but i'm sure at home 4 bowlers remains the way to go the record in recent times tells us this. On the no6 batsman, yes Morgan didn't work, Samit was only a stop gap, but although he does look susceptible to the short ball,Bairstow has only had 3 inns & can't be written off yet, with the likes of Taylor, Compton & maybe Hildreth in the cue behind i'm sure they will find a viable no6 sooner rather than later.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | June 6, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    Bairstow is a fine keeper and when, not if, he consistently makes decent scores in test cricket over a long period of time he will surely step into Prior's shoes when he retires. For now Davies is a good safe bet.

  • POSTED BY fasih123 on | June 6, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    he is a very good player i think england should rest first choice players for ODIs and give a chance to Taylor/Compton/Woakes/Hildreth/Stokes/Davies/Borthwick/Brooks/JJ Roy/Maynard/Buttler/Root/Meaker/Morgan/Kerigan/Briggs/Davies this s my choice for ODIs vs WI.Morgan should be captain

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 6, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    @Iain Murray on (June 06 2012, 17:26 PM GMT) "Giving out test caps like sweets" - When was the last time Eng changed one of the top 5 batsmen and how many bowling changes have they made which were not due to injury in recent years? And when was the last time Prior was dropped? Right now I think if anything the selectors might even be a little too rigid at times , but the only position which they seem no nearer to filling is the number 6 batsman which I and seemingly a growing number of fans on here would solve by accomodating Finn or Onions in a 5 man bowling attack and moving Prior up to 6 and everyone below Prior up a place

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 6, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (June 06 2012, 15:17 PM GMT) Bairstow could keep wicket but that would mean that with the current squad they'd have to do the unthinkable and play 5 bowlers - god forbid

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | June 6, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    @Min2_cric, this board has nothing to do with the current state of Ind's batting woes, so please can you post such comments elsewhere, as for you comments re Prior the other players you compare him with are specialist batsmen, There is noone else out there in test cricket right now who averages over 40 & is a genuine wicketkeeper.

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | June 6, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    @Iain Murray, What year are you living in ? In the modern game a good test side cannot carry a keeper who cant bat. Read has had plenty of opportunity in the past & just didn't have the ability to score enough runs. in 23 inns he only ave 18 & made a solitary 50! I think Foster was a bit unlucky he only played 7 tests & probably should have had a bit more opportunity as he's a much better batter than Read. However wen Foster first played a decade or so a go, if Eng would have had a keeper batting at 7 & an ave of 30 odd they would have happy with that, but even since then things have changed Prior has become damn good keeper & ave well over 40 with a bat. Davies is the closet thing we have to a like 4 like replacement. As for those calling for Bairstow to take the gloves , hes a batsman who can keep wicket not vice versa which is fine for limited overs games but in tests you need a genuine keeper behind the stumps, which is why I doubt Kiesweter will ever play test cricket.

  • POSTED BY Kidderwolf on | June 6, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Davies has been in great form behind the stumps for Surrey so far this season, and deserves a chance. Bairstow is probably a better batsman but England need a keeper who can come on and do the business, Davies is that man.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    @Iain Murray - Neither Foster nor Read have performed as batsmen in international cricket, which is expected of a wicketkeeper now. Davies is considerably younger than both of them as well as being a more talented batsman. Min2_cric's comment about England's wicketkeepers was ridiculous, Matt Prior is probably the best wicketkeeper-batsman in test match cricket today. Good luck to Davies, he's a very talented cricketer and deserves another chance to prove himself after being rather unfairly squeezed out of the ODI side last year.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    Really stupid decision to call up Davies when you have an established County keeper in Bairstow in the team. I would have just called up an extra batsman and dropped Bairstow to 7 and given him the gloves.

    I'd have even been tempted to play Prior as a batsman at 6 and have a look at Bairstow as a keeper at 7 for this match with them resting Anderson.

    Will England end up with a one day batting line up of wicket keeper batsmen soon, given they have often used the guys above plus Buttler and Kieswetter.

  • POSTED BY Min2_cric on | June 6, 2012, 17:57 GMT

    forgot to mention dat even india hasnt got any quality wicketkeeper batsman (yes m talking abt Dhoni).Well i should say after retirement of Dravid, it doesnt has any quality batsman left( yes i m talking abt sachin, gambhir, sehwag, kohli....) Bad situation.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    A bizarre comment by Iain Murray - " England are just giving out Test Caps like sweets". Did you not notice that in 2011, England did not give out a single Test cap for the first time in something like 50 years? This year, two players have made their debut. Two!

  • POSTED BY axe_hay on | June 6, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    Steve davies should keep and Nick Compton/James Hildreth/James Taylor should replace Bairstow. 3 quality players for the No.6 slot which remains vacant after the exit of Paul Collingwood.

  • POSTED BY Min2_cric on | June 6, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    i dont think England has any good wicket keeper batsman at present.Kieswetter is not a test batsman,Bairstow and Davies yet to prove themselves in international cricket.Even Prior has not been good lyk strauss or cook or maybe trott.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    It would make more sense to bring in someone who has already played test cricket, e.g Chris Read or James Foster. England are just giving out Test Caps like sweets.....

  • POSTED BY AdrianVanDenStael on | June 6, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Davies is highly respected in many quarters and was perhaps unlucky not to make the world cup squad in 2011. I suspect Davies may have to wait a bit longer for a test debut, however; Prior has had these injury scares before (e.g., Headingley 2009) and got over them.

  • POSTED BY MartinC on | June 6, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Good decision - let Bairstow find his feet as a batsman rather than give him the keeping to worry about as well. Sadly with the weather forecast I doubt there will much keeping to do for anybody.

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | June 6, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Nice to see the selectors' recognition that a genuine wicket keeper is needed for test cricket. Bairstow or Kieswetter could not do it.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    davis is far better batsman than kieswetter.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | June 6, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    good luck stevie davis if Prior is not fit. He's had a good record in the last couple of years.... although I may have been tempted to play bairstow and get Hildreth in. But it would perhaps be a burdon for bairstow looking to get a decent score int he test.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 6, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Could Bairstow or Kieswetter not just do it?

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  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 6, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Could Bairstow or Kieswetter not just do it?

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | June 6, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    good luck stevie davis if Prior is not fit. He's had a good record in the last couple of years.... although I may have been tempted to play bairstow and get Hildreth in. But it would perhaps be a burdon for bairstow looking to get a decent score int he test.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    davis is far better batsman than kieswetter.

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | June 6, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Nice to see the selectors' recognition that a genuine wicket keeper is needed for test cricket. Bairstow or Kieswetter could not do it.

  • POSTED BY MartinC on | June 6, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Good decision - let Bairstow find his feet as a batsman rather than give him the keeping to worry about as well. Sadly with the weather forecast I doubt there will much keeping to do for anybody.

  • POSTED BY AdrianVanDenStael on | June 6, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Davies is highly respected in many quarters and was perhaps unlucky not to make the world cup squad in 2011. I suspect Davies may have to wait a bit longer for a test debut, however; Prior has had these injury scares before (e.g., Headingley 2009) and got over them.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    It would make more sense to bring in someone who has already played test cricket, e.g Chris Read or James Foster. England are just giving out Test Caps like sweets.....

  • POSTED BY Min2_cric on | June 6, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    i dont think England has any good wicket keeper batsman at present.Kieswetter is not a test batsman,Bairstow and Davies yet to prove themselves in international cricket.Even Prior has not been good lyk strauss or cook or maybe trott.

  • POSTED BY axe_hay on | June 6, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    Steve davies should keep and Nick Compton/James Hildreth/James Taylor should replace Bairstow. 3 quality players for the No.6 slot which remains vacant after the exit of Paul Collingwood.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    A bizarre comment by Iain Murray - " England are just giving out Test Caps like sweets". Did you not notice that in 2011, England did not give out a single Test cap for the first time in something like 50 years? This year, two players have made their debut. Two!