England news May 27, 2015

Prior still hopeful of returning from injury

ESPNcricinfo staff
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'I've not given up hope of playing again yet' - Prior

Matt Prior has admitted that it was a "tough week" after not being involved in a Lord's Test for the first time since 2008 but said England's memorable win had helped ease the pain. Prior is continuing to rehabilitate from an Achilles injury and still hopes to play again. He underwent surgery last year and his last appearance remains the previous Lord's Test, which ended in defeat to India.

Prior's place as wicketkeeper has since been taken by Jos Buttler and he pulled off a couple of brilliant catches - as well as conceding 31 byes - as England beat New Zealand by 124 runs on the final day. Buttler, playing just his seventh Test, was the first other than Prior to keep at Lord's since Tim Ambrose in 2008.

"I hadn't missed a Lord's Test match for six years," Prior said. "The minute I saw Lord's, you know the first Test of the summer is always a really big occasion for any English cricketer, so it was a tough week to watch but made a lot better by England's performance and obviously the win."

Prior was hoping to play for Sussex this season and possibly restate his case for England but remains some way from a return. "It's still a slow progress unfortunately, it was obviously a very big injury and a big operation and it's quite frustrating, I'm sort of taking two steps forward and four back," he said. "But I haven't given up hope that I'll one day be back on a cricket pitch, I love the game and I want to be back out in the middle again."

Prior certainly knows about the difficulties of keeping wicket at Lord's, where the ball tends to dip and swerve after passing the wicket. He only had praise for Buttler, whose leg-side takes to dismiss Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson in New Zealand's first innings were further proof that he is adapting well to Test cricket.

"I thought Jos had a fantastic game," Prior said. "Keeping wicket at Lords can be a nightmare, it can make you look and feel ridiculous, with the ball wobbling around - no one knows why it does it but it does, believe me, and you can feel daft. The other thing is that it can ruin your rhythm, it ruins your rhythm, it ruins your confidence but suddenly the half chance comes and you've got to be on it to take that chance.

"The thing that stood out for me with those two catches, they were two fantastic catches and if he was just a little bit off it he wouldn't have been able to take those chances so it shows that mentally he's in a really good place with his game and with himself and I think that stands the team in really good stead."

As he works on his fitness, Prior has also been involved with setting up a professional cycling team and has watched on from afar as England replaced their management team after little more than a year, bringing in Prior's former captain, Andrew Strauss, as director of cricket and Australian Trevor Bayliss as head coach. Prior thinks that the appointment of Bayliss could turn out to be a masterstroke ahead of the Ashes.

"I think firstly a lot of people will be relieved an appointment has been made," he said. "You know all the time it's up in the air no one knows where they're at and again, from the players' point of view, they'll be pleased that a decision's been made sooner rather than later, especially with the Ashes coming up very quickly. We'll have an Aussie in the ranks, which I think is actually quite a good idea. I think it's going to work brilliantly - why wouldn't you want an insight into Aussie mentality and how they might play their game? He's a wealth of experience as well so I think it could work really well."

Chance to Shine ambassador Matt Prior was speaking at the launch of Yorkshire Tea National Cricket Week. Schools can still sign up for the week at www.chancetoshine.org/ncw_signups

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Oliver on May 29, 2015, 8:57 GMT

    Prior doesn't really count as a modern day "great" but he was a very good and very important part of a pretty successful England team. The KP saga aside (in which no one really knows how culpable he is) Prior played a key role both on and off the pitch in making England on our the top teams in the world. Yes he certainly wasn't as good as Gilchrist but his numbers since 2008 to 2013 make him one of the best keeper-batsmen of the few years. But for me more importantly he was key in generally geeing up and encouraging the team both as vc and a senior player. Th support he got from players after the KP accusations show he was popular in the dressing room, and he was always that slightly more out there player that drew cook out of his shell a bit as captain. Will he come back? I suspect Bayliss will want a fresher look given his success with young players so if buttler does get injured I imagine Bairstow or Billings will be the replacement. Which might be a shame....

  • Dummy4 on May 29, 2015, 4:34 GMT

    Prior was a quality player. I can't see him playing for England again, but if Buttler got injured he would be the man I turned to, albeit just until Jos was fit again.

  • Six on May 28, 2015, 21:57 GMT

    Big Cheese might slot back in as he was Cook's vice captain I believe. He really shouldn't though. Buttler is averaging 55 from 7 tests. It will depends on how Buttler goes in this series.

  • Garry on May 28, 2015, 13:40 GMT

    Prior is a good player, he had a shocker in the last Ashes series but he was not on his lonesome there. He is not in the Gilchrist class but he is a way better gloveman than Buttler. At the least Prior can play county and T20 cricket for years yet.

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2015, 13:10 GMT

    It`s just all over for Prior. He used to batting aggressively in home condition but he is an all time flop when it`s about asian pitches. He may come back in county but the door of international cricket has got shut down. I think Matt Prioi

  • j on May 28, 2015, 12:16 GMT

    He might come back one day - it is far from impossible. very good player. was obviously physically and mentally burned by the time he stopped but good luck to him. I hope they give Buttler a good run in the team though.

  • Mohammad Jibran Jamal on May 28, 2015, 12:00 GMT

    @ JAFFA 79 , yes brother , averaging 40 is good , sorry for my harsh judgement .On Quinton de kock , the guy is only 21 and has 7 odi centuries , 1 of them in Australia , and 2 in Asia ( Dubai , srilanka ) . Playing such kind of a knock , for any non-asian player , is good , but to do it with such maturity , keeping wickets , speaks volumes . I do not see any reason , why he can't make an impact at test level . And yes , the demands of the game are such , nowadays that , even keepers have to contribute with bat . During Gilchrist period , it was widely acknowledged that , the Victorian Darren beery was the finest keeper going around , but his batting let him down .And dhoni has not made any impact outside Asia , as a captain in tests , let alone as a batsman .

  • Cam on May 28, 2015, 11:28 GMT

    I think it is harsh to say Prior was an ordinary player, he was pretty good and after all masterminded the Cook book they had for the Ashes. Australia 5 England 0 this summer. Cook will be sacked along with Broad and Bell. Anderson could be next.

  • Colin on May 28, 2015, 10:24 GMT

    @ MOHAMMAD JIBRAN JAMAL. So you agree then? Averaging 40 makes you a mighty fine cricketer and better than a lot of the keeping 'greats'. ABDV is a great player no doubt about it although he hasn't always kept. He probably averages a lot as a keeper too but I suspect he won't keep all of his career. Sangakkara is in that same category. De Kock? I have only really seen him at ODI level so I reserve judgement. Boucher was a fine competitor, handy bat but his keeping wasn't special in my book. Competent but not amazing. For that matter, Gilly and Dhoni weren't the best pure keepers. In my book, best pure keeper I have seen was Ian Healy. It is a shame that pure keepers don't get a look in these days if their batting isn't up there. Chris Read and James Foster should feel very unlucky when people like Gerraint Jones got in above them. Worst keepers? 1) Kamran Akmal 2) Matthew Wade 3) Ridley Jacobs 4) Gerraint Jones 5) Dhoni.

  • Robert on May 28, 2015, 10:24 GMT

    It is time to move on. Buttler will prove himself to be much better than Prior.

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