Following wicketkeeper Matt Prior’s decision to take an indefinite break from international cricket due to injury in the immediate aftermath of England’s 95-run loss to India in the second Test at Lord’s on Monday, we now take a look back at the Sussex stumper’s career for his country during the course of the past 10 years.
Prior made his international debut for England on their 50-over tour to Zimbabwe in the winter of 2004 when Duncan Fletcher was head coach. The wicketkeeper made 35 in his only ODI appearance in Southern Africa.
However, Prior’s limited-overs and Twenty20 careers for England have ultimately both been huge disappointments for a batsman of his abilities, with the 32-year-old having made just three half-centuries in 68 ODIs at an average of only 24 and a strike rate of 76.
Three years later, Prior made his first Test appearance for his country against the West Indies at Lord’s. The stumper marked the occasion in fine style by becoming the first England wicketkeeper to score a century on his Test debut after making an unbeaten 126 at the home of cricket.
However, poor series with the gloves at home to both India in the summer of 2007 and in Sri Lanka in the winter of 2007/08 saw Prior lose his place as wicketkeeper to his one-time Sussex rival and team-mate Tim Ambrose for England’s tour of New Zealand in 2008.
Prior was recalled for England’s tour of India in 2008/09 after working hard on his glove work off the field with wicketkeeping coach Bruce French.
All of that paid off as Prior played a key role with the gloves, as well as the bat, as England regained the Ashes in the summer of 2009, the first of three successive series wins against Australia that the wicketkeeper would be part of.
Prior took 23 catches in the following series Down Under in 2010/11, including an Ashes-equalling record of six in the first innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as England confirmed the retention of the urn in Australia for the first time since 1986/87.
Prior concluded a wonderful series for both him and the team by scoring his first-ever century against Australia as the tourists won the fifth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground to seal a 3-1 series win. In the process, he became the first England wicketkeeper to make an Ashes ton Down Under since Jack Richards in 1986/87.
Prior then followed up that memorable tour of Australia by compiling 271 runs at an average of 67.75 as England whitewashed India 4-0 the following summer to become the world’s No. 1-ranked Test side.
In March 2013, Prior made the last of his seven Test hundreds for England to help his side draw the third and final Test with New Zealand in Auckland, and the series, too, after batting for four hours and 29 minutes for 110 not out.
As a result, in May 2013, Prior was voted England Cricketer of the Year for 2012/13, with the England stumper now widely regarded as being the No. 1 wicketkeeper in the world.
After England had again retained the Ashes with a 3-0 series win against Australia in the summer of 2013, Prior was then named as skipper Alastair Cook’s vice-captain for the very first time for the return trip Down Under that winter.
However, the wicketkeeper was dropped from the team after the Ashes had been lost following defeat to Australia in the third Test in Perth, with the tourists going on to be whitewashed, 5-0.
Prior was immediately recalled to the side to face Sri Lanka in June 2014, making 86 in his comeback at Lord’s, only for a series of debilitating fitness issues to then force the 32-year-old to take a break from the game after the 79th, and possibly now last, Test of his career against India at Lord’s in July.