Aussies in turmoil? We don't care, says Matt Prior

Keeper warns England to focus on their own game if they want to win Ashes a third time

Matt Prior has no time for tales of the woes of his Australian foes. With less than two weeks until the Ashes begin series, England's wicketkeeper has turned solipsistic.

"Firstly, we don't know what is going on in the Aussie camp," Prior insists, "we don't know the details and we don't know the politics. Secondly, it doesn't affect us at all."

Australia may have changed their coach at the 11th hour; their captain has only just returned from injury; and they may be mired in alcoholic imbroglios, but experience has taught Prior how necessary a world of Ashes pain is to school a cricketing intelligence.

The 31-year-old tells a story that helped form his Ashes soul and may explain why this England side are overwhelming favourites to win a third successive Ashes series for the first time in 32 years.

"The big thing I've learnt from playing in the Ashes," begins Prior in the atmosphere of a confessional. "Well, I'll give you an example... In 2009, we go 1-0 up and we go to Headingley with two to play thinking we are one win away from winning the Ashes. Next thing we were all out for 102 and beaten in three days. That was a great example of taking your eye off the ball for one second and getting burnt.

"One of the toughest things about the Ashes is that there are so many things going on off the pitch and away from your team that it can pull you away from concentrating on your own things if you're not careful."

The England players who take the field for the first Test at Trent Bridge on 10 July have 99 reasons to stay careful. That is how many Ashes appearances the likely XI have between them. Australia's likeliest line-up have 54 – with almost half of those belonging to the creaking Michael Clarke. And Prior believes that could make the difference.

"There were a few of the guys involved in that [Headingley] performance who will know the risks of getting your focus wrong. That is one of the challenges that a player involved in the Ashes must avoid. The important thing is that we focus on our preparation for the Essex game."

Prior will play for an England XI at Chelmsford this Sunday in their only Ashes warm-up. One man who won't be there is Nick Compton, who has paid for his recent scratchy form Prior is now England's undisputed No 1 wicketkeeper but knows the agony of being dropped. "Nick will be hurting. When you are left out it is a horrible feeling. You feel a little bit lost."

One player Prior is convinced will not be a little boy lost is Compton's replacement, Joe Root. "It was inevitable that he would end up opening. The start he has had has been phenomenal. One of his strengths is his mental strength and temperament."

They are qualities Australia will need in urnfuls over the next few months – not that Prior will be paying any attention.

Matt Prior was launching an ECB campaign to mark the upcoming Investec Ashes Series, calling on fans to #RISE for England. For news, videos and to show your support – visit: ecb.co.uk/ashes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot