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
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments