x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Matt Prior determined to make up for Ashes drop

Wicketkeeper, who is in Dubai with the Sussex side, is focused on England Test comeback. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

Matt Prior, centre, had a poor Ashes tour of Australia in 2013/14. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images
Matt Prior, centre, had a poor Ashes tour of Australia in 2013/14. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

DUBAI // Matt Prior has claimed that his disappointing performances in the Ashes series in Australia has lit a fire inside, and the England wicketkeeper is determined to force his way back into reckoning through sheer load of runs.

In Dubai, as part of the Sussex squad for Friday’s Emirates Twenty20, Prior refused to talk about Kevin Pietersen’s acrimonious exit from English cricket, Ashley Giles’s chances of taking over the vacant head coach spot and the questions over Jonathan Trott’s stress-related illness, which led to the batsman quitting the Ashes series after the first Test in Australia.

“What goes on with the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board], picking a coach and everything, it’s got very little to do with me,” said Prior, who was dropped from the England team after the third Test of the 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia.

“The only thing I can concentrate on is what I am doing now and making sure I am knocking on the door and, come the first Test this summer, I put my name in the hat for selection.

“The thing that hurts me is that an Ashes series, especially in Australia, is a massive series for any English cricketer, and certainly as a senior player in a team, you want to perform in those series, you want to perform on the big stage, and I didn’t do that. And that’s disappointing.

“But it lights a sort of fire inside me and a motivation to put it right and that’s exactly what I have right now. But the only way you can put it right is through performance.”

Since he returned home from Australia, Prior has taken a complete break from cricket, spending “a lot of time on my bike riding, which I thoroughly enjoy, and it’s managed to keep me pretty fit”.

The 32-year-old’s break from cricket has been so thorough, he refused to even offer a suggestion for a favourite for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

“I have been out of the loop of cricket,” he said.

“I have tried to get away from it completely, so I’ve not really kept in touch with what’s going on and who’s who, and everything.

“I know it sounds a bit strange. As a professional cricketer, you’d think I’d be home watching every game, but that’s certainly not the case.

“I wouldn’t rule anyone out. There are phenomenal players on that big stage and in T20 cricket, if one guy has a good day, he wins the game for your team. So it’s actually quite hard to sit here and go, ‘Oh, I think they’ll do well’, because the game can change so quickly.

“I think that’s what brings a lot of crowds in and what people love about the game.”

arizvi@thenational.ae

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