Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior is in a race against time to prove that he is fully fit ahead of the national team’s Test series against Sri Lanka.
Prior, who is struggling with an Achilles injury, has only one County Championship match to convince the national selectors to pick him for the Test series.
England captain Alastair Cook revealed that he has been speaking with Prior regularly since he was dropped from the Test team during the Ashes series against Australia.
Cook also noted that he does not want Prior rushing back from a serious injury as it could have drastic long-term repercussions.
“It is a big concern,” Cook said. “I’ve been speaking to him every week and he’s been doing everything he can. He’s incredibly frustrated because Achilles injuries are hard to heal.
“He’s a big part of our plans, but we can’t rush a guy back, that wouldn’t be fair on him or to the England team. There’s time, about two weeks to the first Test match and we’ll be in constant communication throughout.
“He knows he is a big part of things and we want him to be there, but if he’s not there it will give someone else an opportunity.”
One candidate who could potentially take over Prior’s role on a more permanent basis is Jos Buttler as he has been impressive with the gloves and bat while representing England in limited overs cricket.
“Like a lot of guys he is a really talented keeper and a really talented cricketer,” Cook said. “He’s nowhere near the finished article with his keeping but just watch him practise and you will see him put the hard yards in and that progress will keep going in the right way no doubt.”
However, England selector Mick Newell announced that other wicketkeepers, including James Foster and Chris Read, have also captured the attention of the selectors.
“There are two camps of keeper,” Newell said. “There is the Kieswetter, Buttler, Bairstow group and there is the Foster, Read group, more the old-school wicketkeeper. I watched Foster last week and he was terrific. There will be an interesting debate there.
“What has come out of the winter is a complete rethink with five, six, seven spots up for grabs, which is a bit scary but exciting at the same time.”