x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Matt Prior surprise inclusion in England World Cup squad

The wicketkeeper will now play a part in England's ODI series against Australia after ousting Steve Davies from the 15-man squad.

Matt Prior is the surprise selection in England's 15-man World Cup squad.
Matt Prior is the surprise selection in England's 15-man World Cup squad.

The England selectors have made a surprise inclusion in their final 15-man sqaud for next month's World Cup with Matt Prior ousting Steve Davies as wicketkeeper.

Prior, who has been the first choice gloveman in England's Test team, has not played a one-day international (ODI) since the tour of Bangladesh in March last year.

In that time Davies has played in seven ODIs, including the opening match of the current seven game series in Australia where he made 42 from 35 balls in Melbourne.

But the selectors believe Prior is more suited to conditions on the subcontinent, with the World Cup being held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which has been the theme for most the reasons behind the squad selection coming out of the England camp.

"Matt Prior returns to the England ODI squad after a brief absence and given his recent form and his batting style, which is very well suited to the subcontinent conditions, we believe his inclusion is warranted," Geoff Miller, the England National Selector, said in a statement.

"Despite some strong performances both with the bat and behind the stumps by Steven Davies we feel that Matt's game will be better suited to the conditions in Bangladesh and India, the venues staging England's group matches."

Miller added that Prior, who has been playing in Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition for Victoria, will now join up with the England squad ahead of Friday's second ODI in Hobart.

Davies has been opening the batting with Andrew Strauss, the England captain. Prior, who was used in the same capactiy with mixed results, is expected to play in a similar role.

The selection of the rest of England's squad is not so much of a surprise with the in-form seamer Chris Tremlett the only notable omission, particularly with doubts of Stuart Broad returning to form after recovering from a stomach injury and Paul Collingwood, short of runs in the recent Ashes series and dropped for Friday's match in Melbourne, also retaining his position in side.

"Paul Collingwood may not have scored as many runs as he would have liked so far on the tour of Australia but he has been a consistently strong performer for England in limited overs cricket for a long period of time," Miller added.

"His experience, ODI knowledge and skills across all three facets of the game make him a valuable member of the squad and he'll be looking to make a big impact at another global event."

Miller believes that the squad is capable of going far in the tournament.

"Under the leadership of Andrew Strauss we certainly feel we have a squad that can make strong progress in this World Cup as we seek to add to the success of ICC World Twenty20 from last year," Miller added.

"With spin bowlers set to play a prominent role in this World Cup we feel we have quality and depth in Graeme Swann, Michael Yardy and James Tredwell who have all shown their capabilities at international level.

"We have several batsmen and pace bowlers that have been successful on the ODI stage while offering an encouraging blend of conventional and innovative approaches."

It was also announced today that Swann will be sidelined for up to two weeks due to a badly bruised knee.

The 31-year-old will certainly miss Friday’s second one-day international in Hobart and may not return until the penultimate match of the series in Sydney on February 2.

“He has got a slightly strangely deformed kneecap on his left knee,” Andy Flower, the England team director said.

“He got hit and it is badly bruised and it is quite painful so he won’t be playing in this game and might have to rest for 10 days to two weeks.

“That does give (back-up spinner James) Tredwell the opportunity depending on whether we want to pick two spinners or not.”

England squad: Andrew Strauss Captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy