Why we love Matt Prior

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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.


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  1. I like Prior, although I would hardly describe his beard as “magnificent”. I think “existing” is about as far as I’d go.

    With Prior I always get the sense that Something Could Happen. He comes in with the fall of the 5th wicket, at which point the innings is well on the way to being defined, the score being tremendous, ordinary or disastrous. More often than we might expect, Prior turns the score into incredible, excellent or satisfyingly adequate respectively. And he does it quickly.

    No innings chickens can be counted till the egg-thieving-shrew-like-mammal-cum-wicket-keeper Prior has wriggled his way through the tiny orifice of complacency into the henhouse of test match batting.

    1. Nice closing phrase, but we’ll take issue with your comments on his beard, if only because almost all beards are magnificant.

    2. I think it is probably safe to assume the “End of” was a slip-of-the-keyboard, and Ged intended to end his comment with an abstruse reference to nineteenth-century Western Province one-match-wonder “Ben[jamin Robert] Duff”.

  2. I don’t think he quite has the talent to play a selfish game.

    Terrible thing to say, I know.

    1. The selfishness we describe is more about presentation than anything. Any fool can have a heave and given licence, most will.

  3. He’s also not a man to mitigate his failures by claiming that he had executed some key deliverables, or perhaps hit his target areas (which were rudely filled with fielders).

    He’s a man who will fling his bat at a plate glass window. Probably while shouting “arse biscuits” at a volume unbecoming of a chap standing in the pavillion at Lord’s. This is a quality I admire. Ruthless honesty in self appraisal.

    I’m off to Hove tomorrow (assuming the game isn’t all over by then). I look forward to watching him, and possibly seeing if I can sneak into the pavillion afterwards and buy him a sneaky pint.

  4. I love Prior and his George Michael beard. He took on the the mantle from Colly of being England’s Spine, but he goes about it in a slightly different way.

  5. It’s over, KC. The Days of Throdkin are finished. Now it’s down to Sam and his ilk (*) to tell the world what sort of breakfast to eat – chicken balti, presumably.

    But well done Sam, congrats, etc. Hopefully you won’t get all cocky about it, but instead be able to act with the same grace and dignity that KC and I maintained this time last year.

    Meanwhile, stage two of Lancashire’s plan to win two first class titles in three seasons is motoring on.

    (*) Or his elk, if he has one. It’s no more ridiculous a thought than owning a bear with a damaged stick.

  6. If Lancashire go down, will it render their entire team ineligible for next season’s “one to watch”, or will the constitution be abandoned citing special circumstances, a bit like what happened after the burning of the Riechstag?

  7. I find it funny that Amla and Prior have beards but no hair on their head, I would like to shave their beards and stick it on top as a wig. lol

    For me there are only 2 cult heroes in international cricket ever thats Monty Panesar and Amla.

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