A confident and skilful performer both in front of and behind the stumps, Prior has developed into the ideal modern-day Test wicketkeeper-batsman.
His glovework has improved markedly since he made his international debut, yet it is his batting that has allowed him to establish himself as one of the world’s best performers in his position.
Prior is a naturally attacking player capable of taking games away from opposing teams, but also possesses a sound technique and temperament which enables him to dig in and play long innings when necessary.
A Sussex player throughout his career, Prior made his first England appearance against Zimbabwe in November 2004 but it was not until the following winter that he gained a regular run in the one-day side, predominantly as a specialist batsman on the tours of Pakistan and India.
His big break arrived in May 2007 when he was called up to make his Test debut against West Indies at Lord’s. He responded with a sparkling unbeaten 126 and continued to impress with scores of 75, 40 and 62 in the three matches that followed.
Unfortunately, Prior was unable to maintain his early form and he was dropped after a disappointing tour of Sri Lanka.
He was recalled by the end of 2008, however, having worked hard in a bid to raise the standard of his wicketkeeping.
A second Test hundred against West Indies followed and Prior went on to help Andrew Strauss’ side regain the Ashes on home soil in 2009.
By the time the reverse series arrived some 15 months later, he was firmly established as England’s number one gloveman. Batting with freedom and no little panache, he ended a glorious tour on a high note with a flamboyant 118 in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
His curious failure to transfer his success at Test level into the international game’s shorter formats ensured he was omitted from the ODI and Twenty20 teams after the 2011 World Cup, having drifted in and out of the limited-overs set-up in the six and a half years since his debut.
Yet as England ascended to the summit of the International Cricket Council Test rankings later that year with home series victories over Sri Lanka and India, Prior remained an integral member of the Test side, scoring further centuries against each touring side.
He continued to chip in with valuable contributions during 2012, while also impressing in the shortest format for Sussex with a series of belligerent knocks.