Team man Prior shows true colours

Posted in England in India 2012-13

If I had a pound for every time I heard it mooted that Matt Prior was reining in his natural attacking instincts; well, you know how the saying goes.

It was said once again today as Prior’s 48 was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing first innings that saw England dismissed for 191, earning India a 330-run lead in the opening Test.

Prior is widely regarded as the best wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket, and rightly so.

Not only has the 30-year-old's glovework improved dramatically since he first broke into England's team, his consistency with the bat has also been a huge asset for several years.

Yet in compiling a defiant knock at the Sardar Patel Stadium today, Prior once again prompted comments that appeared somewhat wide of the mark.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but ecb.co.uk has to disagree with such suggestions.

It is true that Prior boasts a wide array of attacking strokes and an ability to strike the ball as cleanly as any of his colleagues.

Indeed, Prior's relatively poor record in limited-overs cricket must represent one of the great mysteries of English cricket.

Yet, to the eyes of this writer at least, it is obvious that Prior's first thought on arriving at the crease is always the same: 'What do I need to do to benefit the team?'

Today's attempted rearguard, which spanned 100 deliveries, was certainly nothing new for a player who has frequently demonstrated an eagerness to adapt his game according to the match situation.

It can be argued that his natural instinct is neither to attack nor defend, but rather to play in the manner that best suits England.

Such an approach must surely be applauded.

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