Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Matt Can Come through Crisis

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Matt Can Come through Crisis

Article excerpt


MATT Prior is facing the biggest challenge of his England career so far as he attempts to bounce back from the fluctuating fortunes of his first summer as a Test player, writes MYLES HODGSON.

The 25-year-old wicketkeeper- batsman endured the full scale of emotions during his first full summer as a member of the Test line-up, ranging from the elation of a century on his debut at Lord's to the despair of his dropped catches and first innings duck in the final Test against India at the Oval.

He has also suffered his fair share of criticism for his role in the brand of aggressive cricket favoured by new coach Peter Moores and the constant chatter he has provided behind the stumps in an attempt to unsettle the opposition batsmen.

Prior appeared to have emerged from that tough baptism to Test cricket by batting for 93 minutes to help save the final Test against India, withstanding the pressure to finish unbeaten on 12.

But Moores, who worked with Prior closely during his long spell as Sussex coach, believes the biggest challenge is ahead of him as he attempts to come through his recent crisis of confidence and establish himself as England's top wicketk eeper-batsman.

"He will have started the Test match excited about the challenge and then had a bad innings and that was really tough but the way he was in the second innings, he started to come out of himself," enthused Mo ores.

"He started to be a bit more of the character he is and I thought he kept well and lifted the team.

He showed real fight and resilience and then for him to be there at the end of the match was a real feather in his cap.

"He's made some mistakes but he's learning and he's getting better at this environment. The challenge is whether he becomes mentally stronger from this game.

"If he does then at the end of it, if he gets through Sri Lanka as well, then he can start to become one of those Test match cricketers that everybody wants. …

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