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Prior ready for next challenge

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Matt Prior is focusing his sights on future success after being named ECB Men’s Cricketer of the Year for 2012-13.

Prior became the first England wicketkeeper to collect the accolade after an impressive year with the bat and behind the stumps, the highlight of which was his match-saving century in the final Test against New Zealand at Auckland in March.

The 31-year-old Sussex man will be part of the team to face New Zealand once more this week at Lord’s and admits there is no time to reflect on his personal triumphs this winter.

He exclusively told “It’s very dangerous if you just look to hold on to what you have. I’m always looking to improve.

“As a player you never really sit back and take stock of what has gone on before, you’re constantly into the next series, the next game, into whatever it may be. You don’t really have that time to reflect.

“The most important thing is looking forward now and preparing well for this Test series and this Test summer and hopefully maintaining my level of performance.”

Prior’s sustained period of excellence has seen him become the leading wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket but, after being dropped from the side in 2008, the South-African born player is fully aware that he must be careful to avoid complacency.

He added: “You have to ask yourself some tough questions at times. Anybody who’s played any high-level sport at any point in time knows that.

“You all go through it, you have your bad times and I’ll have bad times again I’m sure. But I know I’ve come through it and I’m proud of that.

“It’s a great honour to win the award. I’m really privileged.”

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