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Prior admits England career could be over

ESPNcricinfo staff
July 21, 2014
Matt Prior made just 12 runs in England's second innings at Lord's © Getty Images

Matt Prior has decided to stand down from Test cricket for the rest of the summer due to injury. Prior has been suffering from an Achilles problem and will have an operation to rectify the issue that has hampered his performances this summer.

The candidates to replace Prior

  • Jos Buttler (Age 23, Tests 0) The favourite for the role. Has proved himself a hugely talented batsman, but is in his first season as a full-time wicketkeeper in county cricket. Likley to be picked if the selectors feel that his early exposure - and the inevitable mistakes - will not damage his long term development.
  • Chris Read (Age 35, Tests 15) At almost 36, probably past his peak, but remains a fine gloveman and a far better batsman than when he last played Test cricket in 2007. A calm head and a successful captain of Nottinghamshire, could be the man if England are looking for a short-term solution.
  • James Foster (Age 34, Tests 5) Rated by some as the best wicketkeeper in the world and by Jack Russell as the best there has ever been, would certainly improve England's fielding. With Ben Stokes currently at No.8, they could probably accommodate his more than respectable batting too.
  • Jonny Bairstow (Age 24, Tests 14) Took the gloves for the final two Tests of the Ashes in Australia but has slipped down the pecking order surprisingly quickly. Did not look an especially polished keeper in Australia and also has some batting flaws. But it is not so long since he hammered an impressive 95 against South Africa.

Prior has also been affected by quad and hand injuries and has been noticeably less mobile behind the stumps in four Tests this summer. He has only managed one half-century his wicketkeeping has caused most concern with several missed chances and at Lord's equalling the record for most byes conceded in an innings for England.

"I'm not doing justice to myself and more importantly the team and that is what matters first and foremost," Prior told the Daily Mirror. "I tore my quad before the first Test and my right hand has been beaten to a pulp, but the main issue is the Achilles.

"Now we have the time, I want to be pro-active about how we deal with it so I imagine that I'll have an operation. I've always said as long as I can do my job I will manage the pain and get on with it, but it has now got to the point where I can't do my job to the level I expect of myself."

Prior's absence opens the door for Jos Buttler to make his Test debut at the Ageas Bowl, meaning Prior's 79th Test cap at Lord's could be his last.

"It is a huge decision and not one I've taken lightly obviously because I could have played my last game," Prior said. "Playing for England is the greatest honour you can have in the game and that is my motivation to come back and try and play again in the best possible condition.

"I've made my decision for the good of the team and whoever comes in I genuinely wish them the best of luck and hope they go well and perform and help the team win. That is all I want."

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