England counting on Matt Prior experience as Test series gets underway

 

England have been careful to ensure Alastair Cook is surrounded by experience as well as new blood for the first Investec Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Matt Prior perhaps owes his recall to that intent, back as wicketkeeper-batsman and senior player - if not vice-captain - after being dropped during England's Ashes whitewash last winter.

At 32, Prior is preferred to the fast-tracking of Jos Buttler's Test career - and Cook appears reassured to have such a familiar presence alongside him at a time when England seem set, for the second successive Test, to introduce three debutants.

Asked why Prior got the nod ahead of 23-year-old Buttler, Cook said: "For his long-term record as an England cricketer.

"I think he's played almost 80 games - that's a wealth of experience in a side which is changing."

England have satisfied themselves Prior is fit after the Achilles injury which severely curtailed the start of his summer, but have made the opposite call on the readiness of emerging all-rounder Ben Stokes - who broke his wrist three months ago and has also only just returned to first-class cricket.

Cook added of Prior: "He's a proven international - whereas Ben Stokes isn't quite there yet, in our eyes anyway.

"Matt is a senior guy who knows his game.

"We've been in constant communication over his fitness to make sure he's 100 per cent right, and he is.

"He should be very proud of his record. It's outstanding, and he has a lot more to offer. We should support that."

Others have yet to prove themselves, and Cook acknowledges no easy task faces prospective debutants Sam Robson - set to open the batting alongside his captain - Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan.

"It's a step up in standard from county cricket, and it's a different game," he said.

"I was talking to Ian Bell about it the other day, and he said he didn't really feel comfortable until he'd played 40 games.

"I think that can lead to a bit of inconsistency at the start, and a lot of the senior guys have had their ups and downs until they've got to where they are now."

That does not preclude a successful start, as Cook knows from his own experience and that of Prior - both made centuries on debut.

"There are also a number of guys who've had amazing starts to their careers, with hundreds and 'five-fors' on debuts," he said.

"Sometimes when you go into the unknown, the opposition don't know anything about you."

For Liam Plunkett, it is a possible new beginning that is in the offing - if he is chosen for his 10th Test, seven years after his last.

The seam bowler has been a dramatically resurgent force since his move from Durham to Yorkshire at the start of last summer.

"He just needed something to spark him," said Cook.

"When you've been at a county so long, sometimes people just see what you can't do rather than what you can do."

PA

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor