Another England cricketer eroded

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After Matt Prior missed one particular catch in the second Test, a Sky commentator – possibly Mike Atherton – suggested that the wicketkeeper might be having trouble moving to his right due to all his accumulated injury problems. In his statement announcing that he was standing down for the rest of the series, Prior basically confirmed that.

“I saw the edge all the way but I couldn’t move as quick as I needed to, and that is when I knew.”

Prior is only 32. If he played for another country, you’d expect him to return following surgery, but how many recent England players can you think of who have lasted long into their thirties?

Most sides can boast of at least one, usually several. Ponting and Hussey for Australia with Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris still going. Tendulkar and Dravid for India. Sangakkara and Jayawardene for Sri Lanka. Kallis for South Africa. Chanderpaul for the West Indies. Chris Martin – a pace bowler, no less – lasted until he was 38 for New Zealand. For Pakistan, Misbah-ul-Haq’s (at least) 40.

And England? Strauss made it to 35. Collingwood and Swann were 34. Alec Stewart was the last with real longevity.

The finest batsmen and spinners frequently seem to have their best years in their mid-thirties, but many English players have succumbed to wear and tear type injuries by then. Swann’s elbow, Vaughan’s knee, Prior’s Achilles, Flintoff’s everything. Is it the way they’re managed? Do they not get enough sleep? Or is it just one of those things?


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  1. Vaughan was slagging off Flower yesterday, for the state he left the England team in. He was talking about form and confidence, but you could easily add the physical aspect of things to that as well.

    Still, it could be worse. We could have five tests in six weeks.

    1. Poor form from Flower. He left Gary Kirsten with very little space to operate in during the Ashes.

    2. Yay, a biking crossword. Throw one thing I am crap at, and I ignore you. Combine that with a second and you have my curiosity.

      I need advice though – do I need compression underwear to be able to solve this? My balls have way too much freedom right now, and I understand this is usually frowned upon in your community.

    3. You don’t need special underwear to do a crossword, DC. In fact, quite the reverse. Nudity is the usual method among committed cruciverbalists. It frees the mind to wander. It was while I was sat naked on a bench in Manchester city centre the other week that I got arrested (Held for red, a confusion about break – eight letters).

  2. He won’t come back. Next Test after this series isn’t until May.

    Sub editors, prepare your Buttler puns…

    1. I’m very disappointed by the lack of Ballance puns since Gary joined the team. Every time someone on TMS says that the game is “in the Ballance” with him at the crease, I cannot but wonder why they don’t make a bad pun out of it.

  3. Is there ever going to be a time when somebody at the ECB actually stands front and centre before the world’s watching millions (or at least the ones that can afford Sky subscriptions) actually say sorry?

    Here’s what they could say:

    “Our relentless pursuit of huge stacks of cash has badly devalued our product as a whole and we are sorry that we kept climbing into bed with the likes of Stanford, Murdoch and Srinivasan. We were given trusteeship over a small corner of this brilliant sport beloved by untold millions across the Earth and we treated as a means to seize fistfuls of cash and boost our collective ego. We are truly sorry to all the England fans who have given so much time and money over so many years for ever diminishing returns, both on and off the field.”

    Or they could tell us to stop bitching about KP and remind of how much they adore Alastair Cook’s family. You know, whatever works for them.

  4. Cricinfo says that Buttler will make his debut at something called an Ageas Bowl. Is that a thing for greek salad? In the same article someone was going on about playing an “Investec Test”. How do you play Investec? Has moonlighting as an Investec player aggravated Prior’s injuries? I yearn for 1985. At least then, if Prior failed in the Benson & Hedges Test at the Fosters Oval, we’d understand the problem. You always know where you stand with Fags and Piss.

  5. To be fair, The Phantom didn’t tend to tire himself out by batting for extended periods of time.

  6. I have a partial solution to the problem of bowler burnout – all English bowlers should be trained to bowl with either arm. That way, when one wears out they can just switch the ball to the other hand and carry on for another six or seven years.

    If Graeme Swann hadn’t foolishly concentrated on bowling with just his right arm then our current plight may well have been avoided. Not sure how this works with wicket keepers, though.

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