England in West Indies 2008-09 February 23, 2009

Prior flies home after birth of son

Cricinfo staff


Matt Prior is flying home following the birth of his first child. © AFP
 
Matt Prior will miss the fourth Test between England and West Indies in Barbados, starting on Thursday, after his wife Emily gave birth to their first son on Monday morning.

Prior, who received the news at 4.30am local time, had been scheduled to miss the fifth and final Test in Trinidad to attend the birth, but is now expected back in time for that game, which starts at the Queen's Park Oval on March 6. His place in the meantime will be taken by Tim Ambrose, the man who replaced him as wicketkeeper for 10 Tests in 2007.

The news, though joyous for Prior and his family, leaves England with another headache as they prepare for a match that they must win if they are to retain any hope of winning the series. Prior has been one of the batting successes of the series, with two hard-hitting innings at Sabina Park and the ARG, and he might well have come in at No. 6 at Barbados, following the loss of Andrew Flintoff to a hip injury.

Ambrose, meanwhile, scored a memorable Test century in his second England appearance at Wellington in March 2007, but suffered an untimely loss of form thereafter, culminating in Prior's recall for the tour of India last December. He is likely to be joined in the middle-order by Ravi Bopara, who scored an attractive century in England's warm-up in Barbados, or a recalled Ian Bell