Prior relishing World Cup challenge
Matt Prior is confident he will prove the England selectors right following his recall for the World Cup.
Prior was the surprise selection in yesterday's 15-man squad when, despite not having played a one-day international for almost a year, he was named ahead of fellow wicketkeeper Steven Davies.
The Ashes winner flew to Hobart to rejoin the squad yesterday and is set to go straight into the team for the second match of the series against Australia.
"I wasn't expecting it,” Prior said. “I was always hoping - you always do when a team is being selected.
"I've always said that whenever England are playing I want to be the guy with the gloves on. I am absolutely delighted with selection.
"I've loved every second since rejoining the squad. It feels like I've come home again so I'm really happy."
Prior is also set to take over Davies' vacated place at the top of the order - a position he has not filled for England since November 2008.
The right-hander believes the role is best suited to his hard-hitting style and is looking forward to facing the new ball alongside skipper Andrew Strauss.
"It's the role that I enjoy and one that I want to play in one-day cricket," he added. "I think Strauss and I will form a pretty good partnership.
"We get on very well and run well between the wickets so hopefully we can get the team off to a good start."
Prior was used at the top of England's order in 27 of his first 29 one-day internationals, but enjoyed only moderate success, averaging 25.08.
However, the 28-year-old, who has made 55 ODI appearances, believes the experience he has gained since then will ensure a better return.
"My batting has come along a huge amount," he said. "I'm a very different player to the guy that opened the batting for England in one-day cricket however many years ago.
"It wasn't the getting the starts - that was the problem - or getting through a new ball that might be swinging.
“I always seem to get off to good starts, so it was probably just having that experience that I didn't have at the time to then go on and make that match-winning score.
"You look at Shane Watson in the last game getting 161 - it's a match-winning total.
"Those are the types of innings that all batsmen are looking to get and realising that their 40s, 50s and 60s don't win games.
"That's certainly what I’ll be trying to do. First and foremost you've got to get in and get off to that start. Once I do that I will very much be looking forward to going on and making that big score."
The Sussex gloveman bridled at suggestions that he might feel lucky to get the call, after Davies had seemingly been the man to get the nod.
Davies had been entrusted with the gloves for England's past six one-day internationals, while he was the only wicketkeeper chosen for the current series in Australia.
But after team director Andy Flower revealed Prior had been chosen because of his ability on the slower sub-continental wickets, Prior added: "No, I don't (feel lucky) at all to be honest.
"I've put a lot of hard work into my one-day game and it hasn't just happened overnight. It isn't a case of 'oh yeah let's get him in'. There's obviously reasons why I am here.
"People on the outside don't see the work you put in behind closed doors. They don't see the work you do, the extra hours, the extra training.
"I've been in positions before where I've done okay and I've been dropped. That's international sport. It's now down to performing and performing well. That's now my job."
Prior admitted he feels for Davies, who returns to the role of reserve after also filling that position during this winter's historic Ashes success.
"Davies and I have worked a lot together, we're in the keepers' union and we have been on this whole trip," he said.
"We go a long way back and we've worked together. I think we both know that we are both pushing for the same place.
"All you can do is work your best and try your best to perform and whoever gets the nod on the day, fair play to them.
"It was only a short while back I was shaking his hand and saying well done to him.
"It works that way, it's international sport. It's cut throat at times but everyone has been through it. I'm just very happy that I've got the nod this time."
After spending so long out of the one-day team, Prior is focused on making an immediate impact at the Bellerive Oval tomorrow, and denied the World Cup is a distraction.
"Tomorrow's game is hugely important. It's a huge match," he said. "For me personally, whether it be Test, one-day or Twenty20 cricket, it's very easy to look too far ahead.
"Certainly with the World Cup coming up, from an individual point of view looking too far ahead can be dangerous.
"You take each game as it comes at the minute. My sole focus is tomorrow's game here in Hobart and making sure that I perform as best I can."