England news October 23, 2012

India is England's biggest challenge - Prior

ESPNcricinfo staff

Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper, believes that winning a Test series against India in India equates to a bigger task than beating Australia away, which England did for the first time in 24 years in 2010-11.

Later this week England depart for a training camp in Dubai before the four-Test tour of India, where they will be seeking a first series win since 1984. In the latest edition of Alison's Tea Break, Prior describes winning on the subcontinent as "the final frontier" for a team who are determined to climb the Test rankings again after losing their No. 1 status to South Africa at home earlier this year.

Prior's contention is perhaps one of the reasons why he was central in attempting to smooth Kevin Pietersen's return to the England set-up ahead of the India series. Prior was one of the senior England players to meet with Pietersen ahead of his return to the Test squad. He was also quick to pick up the phone to Pietersen in the aftermath of the batsman's extraordinary press conference at Headingley when he stated "it's tough being me" in the England dressing room.

"I've seen Kev, we had a good chat or meeting, whatever you want to call it," Prior says. "Obviously I don't want to go into too much detail about what went on in the meeting but the important thing about it is KP playing for England will make England a better team. He is a phenomenal player, we all know that.

"The really important thing is that we are all pulling and moving in the same direction, and whether it be KP, or myself - if one person steps out of line in the other direction, it's tough. Our team ethic and team ethos has been the most important thing in our success over the last couple of years and we want to make sure we look after that and make sure we can get it back to where it was."

Prior explains why he felt compelled to speak to Pietersen after the second Test against South Africa, what he felt it achieved and the extent to which he believes England can recapture the dressing room ethos that he feels has been central to the team's success over the last couple of years.

"To be honest, all the time it was KP having an issue with the ECB, IPL, etc, but the minute he said he had an issue with the dressing room, it suddenly became the players' problem," he says. "I felt the only thing to do was to say 'Right, what are your issues?' Kev will probably admit he did a few things wrong but if one of our senior players is saying he's struggling in the dressing room then it would be wrong of us not to look at it and say, 'Okay what are we doing that's making him feel that way?' So it works a bit both ways."

In the interview, Prior also discusses what makes for a successful and happy dressing room and the importance of trust and respect in a team game, as well as reiterating his desire to get back in the one-day and Twenty20 squads once again for England.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sharon on October 26, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    @ Front-Foot_lunge on (October 24 2012, 12:22 PM GMT) You are India fan posing as England fan. It is obvious. England fan don't need to compare ourself to Australia - why would we need to? England have won 3 out of last 4 series against Australia - including handsome 3-1 win IN AUSTRALIA. India never have and never will achieve such a feat as this. There is only envy and worry pouring from keyboard of India follower - people like you.

  • V.L on October 26, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    @A_Vacant_Slip Look who is talking about whitewashes! In Aus 2007 Eng 5-0, in UAE 3-0 , In Eng nearly another 3-0 but for another of your SA import's rescue act. Atleast we have kept SA at bay with a 1-1 draw at both home and away. England on the other hand, can't win at home, can't win away from home, can't win at all. Beating an aging on the decline India side has made you over confident and guess what you have not won a single test series at home or away(barring WI ofcourse). We on the other hand in the 2 and half year span we were at the top, did not lose a single series at home or away(you can check the stats) and thrashed whoever came here including Aus(2-0 twice). Never mind though. We will complete the whitewash and send you home. Also do you know that England has not won a single ODI in India in the last 11 matches. Hell we won a test series in 2007 in England. When was the last time India won a test series here? Not in Cook's lifetime or your own life time would you see it.

  • John on October 26, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @golgoal on (October 24 2012, 21:50 PM GMT) You're right. Most of the Indian posters on here are extremely well balanced and like to give credit where it's due. You'll very rarely find an Indian poster making excuses for defeats , tournament exits or booing when a decision goes against them.

  • John on October 26, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    @St.John on (October 24 2012, 19:16 PM GMT) Where is Prior moaning about anything.?Very strange comment indeed

  • John on October 26, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (October 23 2012, 20:10 PM GMT) Thanks for the compliment mate. A few years ago I had a few issues with my then business partner and (still) best friend and I bottled some issues I had up and it became a horrible working atmosphere between us (just 2 of us working together in a small shop). Eventually it came to a head and we had a blow out and the next day we were fine again. Sometimes it's good to hold back what you say but if the issue keeps eating away at you I found bottling it up the worst solution. Sorry , went past your comment earlier

  • Venkat on October 26, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    India are in a precarious position in both batting and bowling. The best test cricket middle order batting of late has been dismantled. This can end up being an important point in test cricket for the country. Replacements for Laxman and Dravid need to be groomed and able pace bowlers need to capture team positions. Too much cricket does not bode well as the team is relatively unchanged in the three formats and is probably not one of the fittest teams. This upcoming series is a great test for the team. The ODI series will be easier for India, but the test series can sting. It is no longer the final frontier, it seems.

  • Sharon on October 25, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    @loudmouth on (October 24 2012, 10:24 AM GMT) rubbish. India got TWO dose of REALITY last year with two consecutive whitewash away from their home. India were incapable to hold onto the Number 1 ranking for more than a few month and anyway they never in their whole history beat SA or Aus outside of India. Talk about swallowing their own hype - India actually thought they were going to go to England and win. Then they went to Australia and thought they wre going to win there! The problem is that the reality and the hype are just way too far apart for India. It seem that India need yet another dose of reality.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Final Frontier? How about winning in your own country again after the 2-0 pasting you got from South Africa. Again England that they were better than they actually are...This Indian side is not the side it was 5 years ago, its full of new players and aging ones. But even they should beat this over rated England team...

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    Tlotoxl on (October 24 2012, 17:50 PM GMT) : England also suffered against Abdur Rehman , which is just a decent bowler. FYI , Ashwin is also a mystery spinner although might not be as reliable as Ajmal but still he can do wonders on SC pitches ,ignore him at your own risk. Swann got 29 wickets against most fragile Pakistan team ever , Indian batsmen are a lot tougher than them.I think Anderson and Finn are very capable bowlers and can do the damage indeed. It's going to be an epic series, very anxiously waiting for it to start.

  • narsimha on October 25, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    LANDAL-47 - The reasons for PAK better performance in the last 2 years is they played most of thier cricket at U A E thier FRONTIER ,where as IND in the recent memory fared worse in ENG, AUS those 2 tour dented our reputation as well confidence badly , out side U A E there is nothing for PAK to show THEY EVEN FAILED TO BEAT WI in WI & SL where as IND achieved that feast , irrespective of the hype , i dont believe that this time around IND can white wash ENG , no , if selection blunders committed , than who knows ENG may have good times .

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