England must act quickly over Prior performances

March 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm 5 comments

England slumped to a 20 run loss in the second ODI to West Indies, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul making a superb 112 not out. However, it could have been a completely different situation if Prior had not dropped Chanderpaul on 27. A mistake that was punished with some style from the West Indian. That drop followed a series of poor performances behind the stumps from the Sussex keeper and surely now England must act. There is little room to include Prior as just a batsman, so his keeping may well justhave lost him a place in the side.

Prior made his test debut against the West Indies, scoring a quick fire 121 on debut. He has since followed that up with another century and 7 fifties in an average of 48. That is however, a stark contrast to his ODI form, in which he averages 23, with just the single 50 to his name, and struggling to cement a stable position in the batting line up. The problem however, is his glove work. Seen as a Batsmen Keeper, he has been dropped on numerous occasions as a result of poor performances behind the stumps. The England management dropped him last summer, only to give him a reprieve for the one day series, giving the reason as a improvement in Prior’s glove work. However, little seems to have changed, he is still struggling to stop the deliveries down the leg side and is putting down chances which could have won the match for the team.

The problem stems from his footwork, the lack of footwork and poor positioning. In Trinidad he conceded a record number of byes, something that England thought they wouldn’t see of from Prior after recalling him to the team. His batting in the ODI team has been nothing short of ordinary. He was promoted to opener in hope of being England’s missing pinch hitter, but an average of 25 and a strike rate of 69, saw him quickly shift down the order.

So who are the candidates to take over from Matt Prior behind the stumps? In the short term, the ODI series, Steve Davies should take over behind the stumps. He is seen as a future England wicket keeper, his aggressive, off side approach is different to the rest of the England batters. Not a good a batter as Prior but has a more aggressive attitude and immense potential. For the Ashes, it is too early for Davies and his batting is not quite up to standard. The ideal choice as keeper. The best Keeper in the country should be playing as keeper for their country. However, England’s need for a batting keeper may reduce his chances, but to be fair to him, he has improved quite considerably. If Andy Flower is still in charge in the summer, then surely Foster will earn an overdue recall to the team. As it stands, there will be an opening come the start of the country season as England search for the long awaited answer to their keeping problems.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

Sports Pundit IPL Fantasy League US ready to embrace twenty 20 cricket?

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  March 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I can’t really agree with your assertion that Prior should be dropped; our batting in the ODI’s hardly fills me with any confidence and the fact is that Prior remains our best batting wicketkeeper.

    You rightly state that Prior has been poor in the ODI’s, but his form in the test arena warrents an extended stay in the side for all formats, hence his move down the order.

    Foster is an option but the problem is that his batting simply is not good enough; as i mentioned earlier our batting in ODI’s is unconvincing at best, so we need all the batting we can lay our hands on (especially with Freddie’s continued poor form with the bat).

  • 2. englandcricket1  |  March 27, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I am a big fan of Prior’s batting but the principal role of the wicket keeper is to keep wicket well, something Prior obvoisly hasn’t done. If he is remaining in the team due to his batting, then he should be selected as a batsman only.

    I can’t agree that Foster’s batting is not good enough. He has improved considerately in both formats of the game with the bat, more so in the limited overs format. He is a solid low- middle order batsman for Essex, with the ability to up the run rate, he is one that Essex can trust if wickets fall quickly. He is also the best keeper in England.

  • 3. Anonymous  |  March 27, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I suppose it boils down to what the selectors want from our wicket keeper- do they want a batsman who can keep or a keeper who can bat? The selectors (as ever) are more than a little confused on this issue; first they pick Prior vs the Windies (in 2007), he does well, averages 40, gets dropped for his keeping (which was poor).

    They then pick Ambrose, who was impressive behind the stumps, and then drop him for averaging mid-20’s! We are now back with Prior on the basis of his batting, despite the poor quality of his keeping! Talk about muddled thinking! It seems to me as if the selectors are after a Gilchrist, they just can’t except that batsmen who can keep like him are exceptionally rare. Personally i think Prior deserves a continued run down the order in the ODI’s, and the next man in should be Davies. Whatever happens, could we please see some consistency in selection!

    You clearly don’t think Prior should keep in the ODI’s; what about in test cricket? If not would you rather have Foster or someone else?

  • 4. englandcricket1  |  March 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    In ODI I would like to see Foster keep wicket as he has done consistently well for Essex over the last 6 years since being dropped.

    In test I would also like to see Foster behind the stumps. I like Prior as a Test batsman but you have to have the best keeper, as a catch could be the difference in winning and losing, as shown when Prior dropped Nash in the test series and Chanderpaul in the 2nd ODI. If possible Prior could come in as a batsman only in test matches. I certianly feel that he is more capable in tests than Shah, with KP slotting at 3, and Prior just above Foster, if the selectors don’t feel there is enough batting stability.

  • 5. Anonymous  |  March 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I do agree with your sentiments for the wicket keeping position; i would far prefer someone who catches the ball every time than a batsman who scores runs more often than not. All batsmen fail, so on those days where Prior drops the ball, will Prior’s keeping make up for it? Probably not.

    However saying that i think that Prior deserves a continued run in the side because there is no outstanding character in line to replace him. There are good candidates, such as Foster, Davies et al, but none of them demand selection over Prior; we are in the position of personal opinion being the main difference between each keeper.

    Regarding your point of Prior as a specialist batsman, I think it is unlikley that this will ever happen, for picking Prior the selectors solve, in their minds at least, two positions at once, namely batsmen and wicket keeper. As long as prior continues to score runs, and especially if he can score them against the Aussies, he will remain the wicket keeper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

England Cricket

Write an Article for EnglandCricket

If you are interested in writing an article (no pay) for EnglandCricket then please contact me on:

Blog Stats

  • 48,013 hits

Cricinfo Latest

News [clearspring_widget title="Cricinfo Latest News" wid="484cf1417af6cdc3" pid="4a2fac9d1853503a" width="400" height="300" domain="www.widgets.cricinfo.com"] Scorecards [clearspring_widget title="Cricinfo International Scores" wid="482c264908cd8b29" pid="4a23c1ba67f633c7" width="300" height="250" domain="www.widgets.cricinfo.com"]

%d bloggers like this: