‘Rehab on the injury is going well and it’s improving every day’, says Matt Prior

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“Signs are good so fingers well and truly crossed”

England vice-captain and wicketkeeper Matt Prior has announced that he remains confident that he will be fit in time for the first Ashes Test on November 21 in Brisbane.

Prior sustained a torn left calf during England’s four-day warm-up against Australia A in Hobart.

“Rehab on the injury is going well and it’s improving every day,” Prior said. “I was even allowed to leave the trusty ice machine to hit some balls in the nets today! Signs are good so fingers well and truly crossed.”

However, if Prior fails to recover in time for the first Test, Jonny Bairstow will replace him behind the stumps.

Bairstow is currently donning the gloves in England’s ongoing warm-up game against the Cricket Australia Invitational XI, where he took three catches in the first innings.

“It is exciting,” Bairstow said. “I am pleased with the way I have kept wicket over the last couple of days and it is good to get the miles in the legs.

“There’s nothing like keeping for a full day, you can do as much fitness as you like but keeping in this heat and getting used to the conditions out here is important.

“The preparation that I have been working with Bruce on and the technical side of things, it is [an] every day process, so if that opportunity does come along I don’t see any reason why I can’t take it. But at the end of the day we are all hoping that Matt is going to be fit.

“The medical team are keeping things close to their chests but Matt seems fine and is as chirpy as ever.”

Bairstow also showed that he hasn’t lost his touch with the bat, scoring 48 runs off 96 balls, which included five boundaries.

“Personally it was really good to spend some time out at the middle,” he said. “It wasn’t easy coming off for the rain and intervals but overall it was pleasing to get out there and hit the ball in the middle of the bat.

“The main thing is spending the time out there. It is good to be out there in a match situation, putting scores on the board that have hopefully put us in a strong position.”

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