x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Matt Prior did not expect England World Cup call up

The wicketkeeper rejoins the England one-day squad in Hobart ahead of the second match against Australia.

Matt Prior has been brought into the England one-day fold at the expense of Steve Davies.
Matt Prior has been brought into the England one-day fold at the expense of Steve Davies.

Matt Prior has admitted he was not expecting his World Cup call.

The 28-year-old wicketkeeper had been overlooked by England’s selectors for almost a year in the 50-over format until he was named in the 15-man squad to travel to the sub-continent next month.

Steven Davies had been expected to get the nod after being selected for the current seven-match series against Australia.

But England team director Andy Flower revealed yesterday that he viewed Prior as a better option on the sub-continental pitches.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Prior said. “I was always hoping, you always do when a team is being selected.

“I’ve always said that whenever England are playing I want to be the guy with the gloves on. I am absolutely delighted with selection.

“I’ve loved every second since rejoining the squad. It feels like I’ve come home again so I’m really happy.”

Prior joined the squad in Hobart last night and is set to go straight into the side for tomorrow’s second one-day international.

Davies is therefore set to return to the sidelines, from where he also watched on during the Ashes as Prior helped England to their historic 3-1 series win.

Prior admitted he felt sympathy for Davies, who had been the trusted man behind the stumps for England’s previous six one-day internationals.

“Davies and I have worked a lot together, we’re in the keepers’ union and we have been on this whole trip,” he said.

“We go a long way back and we’ve worked together. I think we both know that we are both pushing for places, we are pushing for the same place.

“All you can do is work your best and try your best to perform and whoever gets the nod on the day, fair play to them.

“It was only a short while back I was shaking his hand and saying well done to him.

“It works that way, it’s international sport. It’s cut-throat at times, but everyone has been through it.

“I’m just very happy that I’ve got the nod this time.”

After spending so long out of the one-day team, Prior is focused on making an immediate impact at the Bellerive Oval, and denied he was already thinking ahead to the World Cup.

“Tomorrow’s game is hugely important. It’s a huge match,” he said. “For me personally, whether it be Test, one-day or Twenty20 cricket, it’s very easy to look too far ahead.

“Certainly with the World Cup coming up, from an individual point of view looking too far ahead can be dangerous.

“You take each game as it comes at the minute. My sole focus is tomorrow’s game here in Hobart and making sure that I perform as best I can.”