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England stick to Prior judgment

David Hopps

April 4, 2013

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Matt Prior pulls during his match-saving century, New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 5th day, March 26, 2013
Matt Prior's rapid hundred in a face-saving draw in the Auckland Test has not swayed England's selectors © Getty Images
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James Harris, the most sought-after player of the winter in county cricket, is one of four uncapped players in England's provisional 30-strong squad for the Champions Trophy.

But once again England remain determinedly opposed to Matt Prior's return to one-day international cricket as the Sussex wicketkeeper batsman does not even make the 30 despite a series of attacking displays for England in the Test arena.

His one-day record is mediocre, although arguably he is a much superior player these days. Measured against that was the desire of England's selectors to follow a consistent path and, as much as they desire a first England win in a major ICC 50-over event, to leave Prior to concentrate on reaching the start of the Ashes series in perfect fettle.

Prior made a bristling unbeaten hundred in the Auckland Test to give England a face-saving draw against New Zealand last month, and a share of the series, but it has not swayed the conviction of England's selectors that Jos Buttler or Craig Kieswetter offer better options in the 50-over format.

Harris will be one of the most eagerly-studied players in early season as he seeks to make a big impression with his new county, Middlesex, who won the battle for his transfer fought out by a dozen counties after he left struggling Glamorgan.

Harris is joined in the squad by the Warwickshire opening batsman, Varun Chopra, Yorkshire's belligerent middle-order batsman Gary Ballance, and the Warwickshire seam bowler, Chris Wright.

Although none of the four have strong chances of making the cut when the final 15 is named by the May 5 deadline, the long list is nevertheless more intriguing than the conservative list of 30 players announced earlier this week in the England Performance squad.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "This is a balanced squad which will provide the selectors with strong options in all areas and reflects players' performances for both the senior England teams and the England Lions and EPP squads over the winter period.

"With this country hosting the tournament for the first time since 2004, there will be every incentive for England to perform well and we anticipate intense competition for places in our final squad which will be named early next month."

England have never won a 50-over trophy at a major ICC event. The Champions Trophy features the best eight ODI teams in 15 matches between June 6-23 at The Oval, Edgbaston and Cardiff.

With just over two months until the opening game in Cardiff, additional tickets for all 15 matches will go on general sale at 10.30am on Monday 8 April, via icc-cricket.com or 0844 249 2013.

England provisional squad for Champions trophy
Alastair Cook (Essex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), Varun Chopra (Warwickshire), Rikki Clarke (Warwickshire), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), James Harris (Middlesex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Graham Onions (Durham), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Chris Wright (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Meety on (April 6, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

@ davidpk on (April 4, 2013, 11:11 GMT) - Prior scores faster than most in TESTS, not ODIs. He has a career S/R of about 77, which is about TWO runs faster than Trott! @JG2704 on (April 4, 2013, 10:41 GMT) - I think the England top 4 is going to be the main asset for England. The spin options as you have pretty much noted are very good with Tredwell & Swann, the pace attack is a different matter. The biggest problem with (IMO), with your mobs pace attack is that they have a bit of a "sameness" feel about them. I think you need a Left armer, so I'd suggest players like C Wood (stats are brilliant in List A), Keith Barker ho is almost an allrounder option, or Liddle. Obviously the squads been selected, but I think not having much variety in the pace attack will come against your boys!

Posted by JG2704 on (April 6, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

@Shan156 on (April 4, 2013, 20:54 GMT) Think that's a bit harsh on Craig. His average is still 30 despite his poor form for Eng in the last year and despite him batting down the order (as opposed to his familiar opener role). His SR is also higher than anyone's (regulars) in ODIs inc KP and Morgan who are the only 2 regulars within 10 of his SR Bell was given a 2nd chance and while I'm still not convinced has done better 2nd time around. If Jos does the business he should remain WK but if he doesn't and Craig finds form again with Somerset why should he not get a 2nd go? I'm not saying he shouldn't have been dropped but if his form merits being selected again then why not. I don't feel that dropping a player should signal the end.

Posted by Shan156 on (April 4, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

Although I am a huge fan of Matt Prior, I think we should select him only for tests. He had his chances in ODIs and didn't take it. We should look at the future and groom the incumbent, young Jos Buttler. But, no more chances for CK please. He has been as much a failure as Prior in ODIs. In 6 ODIs, Jos' record is shabby but he always came in with quick runs needed in the last few overs. Let's give him another year and then judge him.

Posted by vrkp on (April 4, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

I can't believe that Prior is not the squad. playng 5 ODIs is hardly going to make someone tiring, esp. if he is playing the IPL. His ODI stats does not reflect his current form. He is also an excellent keeper. I think the Eng selectors made a big mistake in not choosing him and most likely repent for this.

Also, the selectors should look at what happened to the Eng test performance due to long rest to the players. After the India series, most of the first XI team didn't play in the ODI and as a result were out of valuable practice before the NZ tests. The result (0-0) showed that.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 4, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

Kieswetter has been pretty much lambasted on these pages in recent times & Prior's record is worse than his, so for me there's no real argument regarding Prior being picked for ODI's. It's also a huge plus that it gives him rest inbetween test matches where once again he just proved what a valuable player he is for us.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 4, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

@Dark_Harlequin on (April 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT) For me - as a Somerset fan - I'm not too unhappy when Jos or Craig are omitted during CC season as they are good performers for Somerset in shorter formats.Folk boo about Prior not being in the squad and about Craig being in the squad but as someone else pointed out Craig's stats are better than Matt's for Eng in shorter formats and as you said and I have said before re Matt - even if he was there he'd be rested half the time. I think they may even have told Matt it was a workload thing but IMO , I don't think he's really cut it in the shorter fmts for Eng. I'd say Craig prob will miss out. Jos is not the number 1 and they can have Jonny as a back up. Re Jade , I just feel they'll stick with him - just a gut feeling.

Posted by SamRoy on (April 4, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

No need of playing him now, but if England want to win World Cup in 2015 Prior must bat at 6 or 7 and have at least 10 international ODI games as practice.

Posted by Robster1 on (April 4, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

Dernbach and Kieswetter are very fortunate indeed to even be in a 30 man squad. Surely there are other more promising players out there ?

Posted by bleedingice on (April 4, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

i would pick Ravi Bopara over Dernbach anytime, also he can bat.

Posted by Aussiesfalling on (April 4, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

So much has changed in the ODI format in terms of regulations since the last World Cup in India that it is almost a completely different game. There are two new balls instead of one, no bowling powerplay, an extra bouncer an over is now allowed and the fielding captain can have one less fielder outside the ring in the closing stages. All these changes mean that we now have a far more 'front-loaded' game where the strategy when you are bowling is to attack with the new balls and the strategy when you are batting is to build a platform and make sure you don't lose early wickets. In that respect, ODIs now more resemble Test cricket than T20 cricket. Already under the new regs we have seen batting sides struggle more against the seamers early on, whilst at the same time we have seen how easy i

Posted by Macfan on (April 4, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

I'd pick: Jimmy Adams, Vince, Carberry, Hildreth, Tom Smith (lancs), Trego, Prior, Napier, Tim Phillips, Roland-Jones, Chris Wood, Steven Davies, Moeen Ali, Parry, Rushworth

Posted by Harlequin. on (April 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

@jg2704 - please not Dernbach, or Kieswetter for that matter! Kieswetter wouldn't be played at the top of the order with the 2 new balls, and I reckon Buttler has shown he can play the better cameo innings.

I'd agree with you about Wright and Hales too, Wright is looking a lot better limited overs cricketer than a few years back.

As for Prior, it must be a workload thing and trying to preserve his test career. I hope he had a choice in the matter though!

Posted by jpeacock158 on (April 4, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

Hoping that Dernbach and Patel don't go. They are not good enough! Thought Chopra was more of a 4 day / Test kind of player really. Not including Prior is ridiculous, Buttler is very good and will be in the squad, but how can you not include the guy who is a by a country mile the best keeper / batsman in world cricket? I think Ballance with early season form could be included, he hits a long ball too. I'm guessing that because of his, Taylor and Chopra's form for the Lions, that they got in this squad, good luck to them.

Posted by EthanTBale on (April 4, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

I cannot for the life of me understand why England keeps persisting with Jade Dernbach. He's always touted for his 'variations' and 'slower deliveries', but in every game I've seen him, he'd bowled two balls: one that goes for four, and one that is slightly slower and usually wide. Surely we can do without a sub-par medium-fast bowler, especially given the fact that Bresnan may be fit by then and he at least knows which way round to hold a bat, unlike Dernbach. Couple Brezzy with Broad and Anderson, and use Swann as spinner (Tredwell if Swann's elbow is still giving him grief). The batsmen pick themselves.

The most probably XI, in my opinion: Cook, Bell, Trott, Pietersen, Morgan, Root, Bairstow/Buttler (wk), Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson

Posted by Narbavi on (April 4, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

I think its just a disgrace that Prior gets omitted despite such strong performances for england in crucial situations, he scores at a brisk pace too, and to top it all, no keeper in one day cricket has done exceedingly well for england in the recent times!!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (April 4, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

Staggering really about Prior,as he is so well regarded in Tests. Maybe he is too offsided,or should bat 5. Buttler does not keep regularly. I see they are persisting with the spinless wonder-Briggs. I would have thought his Hants team mate Dawson would offer more, including spin in plenty. That ball he bowled KP with in 40 over game was a bit like the Warne ball. The ultimate squad has probably picked itself already, but there will be encouragement for the 2nd XV.

Posted by bumsonseats on (April 4, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

i cannot understand why prior is not in the odi pool of players. he scores faster than most in any of the short forms, and as hes the best wicket keeper batsman in world cricket.

Posted by JG2704 on (April 4, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

No huge surprises in this squad. I think the real talking points will be when the squad is halved. I think it will consist of 155 from the below names

Cook,Bell,Trott,KP,Morgan,Bairstow,Buttler,Kieswetter ,Patel,Root,Broad,Bres,Swann,Tredwell,Anderson,Finn,Dernbach

Obviously much will depend on fitness to guys like Swann,Broad and Bres. Personally I'd like to see either Wright or Hales given a go but I see that as being a bit too bold a move for the selectors to make.

TBH , conditions should mean that we stand a better chance because it's at home but our bowling unit as a whole has to improve. I'd also like them to try Swann and Tredwell in tandem.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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