England name central contracts for 2007-08 September 10, 2007

Prior misses out on central contract

Cricinfo staff

Matt Prior: under pressure during the second half of the summer © Getty Images

As widely predicted, Matt Prior, England's wicketkeeper throughout the summer, has not been awarded a central contract for 2007-08. Prior made a good start to his international career, but his form fell away as the summer went on. It is the second consecutive year that no keeper has been centrally contracted.

The two new faces on the list are James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom, while Ashley Giles, who has retired, Simon Jones and Marcus Trescothick did not have their contracts renewed.

"The awarding of 12-month central contracts to two new players, Anderson and Sidebottom, is based on the contribution they have made to the team in recent months and their anticipated level of involvement in international cricket during the next year," David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, said. "Jimmy's form in both Test and one-day cricket this summer has been impressive and we are also very pleased with the progress Ryan has made following his return to the international team earlier this season.

"Overall, one less 12-month central contract has been awarded than last year. We can, however, recommend the award of six month summer contracts to individual players from next April if performances on overseas tours merit this."

Commenting on Prior's omission, England captain Paul Collingwood was confident that Prior would emerge a better cricketer despite the setback.

"Hopefully it will have a positive impact on him and he goes out and proves to everyone what type of a player he is," said Collingwood in Johannesburg. "He's certainly got the talent but these contracts are not easy to come by and you have to work really hard to get them. At any time you can be given a summer contract and I'm sure he has the character to go out and prove that he's worth one."

The selectors can also recommend the award of a limited number of summer contracts to cover the domestic international season from April to September.

England centrally-contracted players James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Alastair Cook (Essex), Andrew Flintoff (Lancashire), Steve Harmison (Durham), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Andrew Strauss (Middlesex), Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire).