Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior has admitted that he is still recovering from having his Achilles surgically repaired last year.
Prior, who is hoping to play some county cricket for Sussex in the near future and regain his spot in the national team, also admitted that it was tough to miss his first Test at Lord’s since 2008.
England went on to beat New Zealand by 124 runs at Lord’s on Monday and Prior was glad to see the team start their summer with an emphatic turnaround win.
“I hadn’t missed a Lord’s Test match for six years,” Prior said. “The minute I saw Lord’s, you know the first Test of the summer is always a really big occasion for any English cricketer, so it was a tough week to watch but made a lot better by England’s performance and obviously the win.”
Speaking about his injury, Prior admitted that it will still take some time before he is fully fit and able to step foot on a cricket pitch once again.
“It’s still a slow progress unfortunately, it was obviously a very big injury and a big operation and it’s quite frustrating, I’m sort of taking two steps forward and four back,” he said. “But I haven’t given up hope that I’ll one day be back on a cricket pitch, I love the game and I want to be back out in the middle again.”
While Prior acknowledged that Jos Buttler has excelled behind the stumps during his absence, he had nothing but praise for the way the 24-year-old performed in the first Test against New Zealand.
In addition to scoring 67 when England opted to bat first, Buttler took two stunning catches down the leg side to dismiss New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor and all-rounder Corey Anderson in the Black Caps’ first innings.
“I thought Jos had a fantastic game,” Prior said. “Keeping wicket at Lords can be a nightmare, it can make you look and feel ridiculous, with the ball wobbling around – no one knows why it does it but it does, believe me, and you can feel daft. The other thing is that it can ruin your rhythm, it ruins your rhythm, it ruins your confidence but suddenly the half chance comes and you’ve got to be on it to take that chance.
“The thing that stood out for me with those two catches, they were two fantastic catches and if he was just a little bit off it he wouldn’t have been able to take those chances so it shows that mentally he’s in a really good place with his game and with himself and I think that stands the team in really good stead.”
During his time off the pitch, Prior has begun setting up his own professional cycling team and has watched from afar as former captain Andrew Strauss was named director of cricket and Trevor Bayliss was appointed to succeed Peter Moores as the national team’s head coach.
“I think firstly a lot of people will be relieved an appointment has been made,” he said. “You know all the time it’s up in the air no one knows where they’re at and again, from the players’ point of view, they’ll be pleased that a decision’s been made sooner rather than later, especially with the Ashes coming up very quickly.
“We’ll have an Aussie in the ranks, which I think is actually quite a good idea. I think it’s going to work brilliantly – why wouldn’t you want an insight into Aussie mentality and how they might play their game? He’s a wealth of experience as well so I think it could work really well.”