Rob Smyth is waxing lyrical about Matt Prior in The Spin, this week. We’re inclined to agree with him and not just because of Prior’s magnificent beard and love of cycling.
Last week, we had a conversation with someone who has had a certain amount of contact with pretty much all the England players at one time or another. We both concluded that Jimmy Anderson and Matt Prior were probably our favourites. Honesty and being a bit of an accidental fool were cited as reasons for liking the wicketkeeper. This is quite a good example of the latter.
However, one particular form of honesty is the main reason why we love Matt Prior. Watch England play for long enough and you will eventually get the sense that Prior’s cricket is genuinely selfless. This is not something you can fake.
It’s not easy to describe, but you can see it when the team needs quick runs. A lot of players will use this as an excuse to showcase their most eye-catching shots, because “the situation demanded that I play aggressively”. Prior is more inclined to dab the ball down to fine leg and push for a borderline irresponsible second run.
Ostensibly there’s the same intent, but Prior’s approach doesn’t cry out for crowd appreciation in the same way as an attempted six. Being caught after a wild slog is conspicuously ‘selfless’ in a way in which run-outs never are. Cricket fans aren’t idiots and the beauty of Test cricket is that it tends to show people’s true character sooner or later.