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World Cup 2011

England choose Matt Prior over Steve Davies

Andrew McGlashan

January 19, 2011

Comments: 120 | Text size: A | A

Matt Prior shared an important stand with Eoin Morgan,  Bangladesh v England, 2nd ODI, Dhaka, March 2, 2010
Matt Prior is back in England's ODI squad © PA Photos

The return of Matt Prior is the major surprise in England's 15-man World Cup squad after he was preferred to Steve Davies for the wicketkeeper's role. Davies was the original glove man in the one-day squad against Australia, but won't be travelling to the subcontinent as England make another change behind the stumps.

The rest of the squad was as expected with Ajmal Shahzad securing the final fast bowler's slot and James Tredwell, the Kent offspinner, named as back up for Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy. Paul Collingwood was included despite his recent omission against Australia, Luke Wright retained his spot as the spare allrounder and Stuart Broad is on track to recover from the stomach injury that kept him out since the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The last-minute switch to Prior was unexpected and meant England changed their one-day wicketkeeper for the third time in less than a year. Prior last played against Bangladesh, in Chittagong, in March where he batted in the middle order before being replaced by Craig Kieswetter, who held the position until the series against Pakistan in September, when Davies earned a chance.

Davies scored 197 runs in five matches against Pakistan and when he was retained for the current series against Australia he appeared set for the World Cup. He made 42 in the opening ODI in Melbourne but it was a scratchy innings which included four let-offs. The selectors were not convinced he was the right man for the subcontinent so Prior, who has been playing in the Big Bash for Victoria since the end of the Ashes, gets another chance at the top of the order. He will link up with the squad in Hobart ahead of the second ODI, where he will open with Andrew Strauss.

"Matt Prior returns to the England ODI squad after a brief absence and given his recent form and his batting style, which is very well suited to the subcontinent conditions, we believe his inclusion is warranted," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "Despite some strong performances both with the bat and behind the stumps by Steven Davies, we feel that Matt's game will be better suited to the conditions in Bangladesh and India, the venues staging England's group matches."

Prior has played 55 one-day internationals and averages 25.38 with a strike-rate of 74.80, while his record in India, where England will play five of their six group matches, is unflattering with 158 runs in 11 matches at an average of 17.55. However, he did finish the Ashes series in strong form with 85 in Melbourne and 118 in Sydney, and has since hit 51 off 29 balls for Victoria on his Big Bash debut against Tasmania.

Prior is guaranteed his place in the starting XI but the same can't be said of Collingwood after he was dropped for the opening match against Australia so he could "clear his mind". He is expected to be given some match time towards the end of the one-day series and has been backed to be a key part of the World Cup.

"Paul Collingwood may not have scored as many runs as he would have liked so far on the tour of Australia but he has been a consistently strong performer for England in limited-overs cricket for a long period of time," Miller said. "His experience, ODI knowledge and skills across all three facets of the game make him a valuable member of the squad and he'll be looking to make a big impact at another global event."

Miller was also confident the squad had the depth to cope with all the challenges that will be put forward during the tournament. "With spin bowlers set to play a prominent role in this World Cup we feel we have quality and depth in Graeme Swann, Michael Yardy and James Tredwell who have all shown their capabilities at international level," he said.

"We believe we have selected an extremely exciting World Cup squad that offers balance with several options across the entire squad. With this tournament being staged on the subcontinent the conditions will require a specific style of cricket and we feel that we've selected a squad that can prosper in these conditions."

Squad Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by ian on (January 21, 2011, 7:41 GMT)

@ dr.thirsty. Conceded. I posted my comment before Samit's belt broke! All the same, I suspect that Bopara is in top shape and philosphical about his omission. Just which box did he not tick, I wonder? Further thinking on the inclusion of Wright and the exclusion of Davies makes me consider the awful possibility that Wright has been picked for his bowling 'skills'! Surely no one is suggesting that Wright is a better bat than Davies. Ergo, either Bopara or Davies should be there in place of Luke the Fluke! (But he is a nice chap and good at cheering then others on!)

Posted by Andrew on (January 20, 2011, 23:03 GMT)

@AaronD84 - no worries mate, IMO you're wrong but I've been wrong a few times this summer. Yardy HAS done real well in T20s in particular, but ODIs whilst have similar mind sets to T20s is still quite different & I'd back Colly to bowl 10 GOOD overs against 4 good ones from Yardy. Colly bats & fields better, & at the moment the 5 of the top 6 batsmen are automatic decisions (Prior now is automatic for the WC because he is the only w/k) if form means anything. A lower order of Yardy, Swann & Bresnan I beleive only have 1 gear when batting. Colly will anchor the innings IMO far better than Yardy. Remember that alot of the sub-continent teams are not going to care if he is a MEDIUM PACE SPINNER, that just means he will come onto the bat better when they slog him for 6. (I say that even though I think he will do a good job - just think that Colly would do it better!)

Posted by Ian on (January 20, 2011, 14:03 GMT)

@Nutcutlet - I feel I must take issue with you on one point. Samit Patels' exclusion has very little to do with his face not fitting and everything to do with his trousers not fitting. If he insists on sporting an equatorial waistline whilst plodding around the field in the manner of a sedated sloth, then he can't expect to be selected. A true all-rounder... in every sense of the word.

Posted by Dummy4 on (January 20, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

England selectors have taken into account that the world cup is happening in India and have not picked Graham Onions. Smart. ;)

Posted by Dummy4 on (January 20, 2011, 12:53 GMT)

excellent team composition . one of the teams besides India and SL to win the world cup .prior to the ashes there was a seed of doubt regarding the bowlers ability to swing the kookaburra ball but Anderson and co did it with aplomb. They have the potential to excel in any condition .Yes they did not perform that well as they would have liked to when they were around last time but i reckon this time it is gonna different though .Let the best team win the coveted trophy .

Posted by Kathryn on (January 20, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

MAAKumar: You know for sure that England "are gonna be the worst performers in 2011WC" and that the semi-finalists will be India, Aus, SA and SL? Can I borrow your crystal ball, please?? And they never have the potential to beat sub-continent teams at home? NEVER? You're absolutely 100% certain about that? Well, let's wait and see, shall we - I hope England make you eat your words! :-)

Posted by waqas on (January 20, 2011, 10:12 GMT)

i am from pakistan and big fan of england........and hope they win their first wc..eng have very balance team good bowling good attacking bating and very very good fielding...

Posted by Anil on (January 20, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

Its really gonna funny..buts its true... This time more cricket lovers thinking ENG gonna win WC. But unfortunately they are gonna be the worst performers in 2011WC. If anyone have any doubt..just check their performance in sub-continents. They gonna be loose all the admirations they got couple of years. Because they don't have or never the potential to beat sub-continent teams at their home. The 2011 semi-final lineups are- IND, SRI, SA, AUS. I can't wait for those, arn't i ??!!!!

Posted by ian on (January 20, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

I, like many others, am dumbfounded at Luke Wright's inclusion. His figures just don't stack up: 31 inns, av.21 and with the ball,15 for 769, av.51.3. Econ 5. Well, you have to look beyond the stats to understand his inclusion. Hmmm. Nice smile, photogenic, sociable, plays for Sussex (as does Prior - draw no conclusions, that would be unworthy of you!). Ah, I think I have it! Really efficient with towels and drinks - and for England's sake, I hope that is as close as he gets to playing a match! The bottom line, of course, is his face fits in the way that Bopara's and Samit Patel's don't. Strauss & Flower haven't got much wrong this winter - let's hope that this highly suspect selection doesn't get exposed in the glare of the WC; it could be the unravelling of a lot of good work and clear thinking so far.

Posted by Kanaganathan on (January 20, 2011, 6:26 GMT)

It suprice to miss trott and Bobra.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Deputy Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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