England’s cricket team have had a great deal of success over the last couple of years, which has seen them become a force to be reckoned with over all three formats of the game. A strong squad blended with experience has been maintained on a consistent basis as England have dominated the International arena.
However the old-guard has started to dismantle with Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann and more recently Kevin Pietersen leaving the team. With positions now up for grabs, the younger plays in and around the squad will sense there is an opportunity for them to pounce. The competition is heating up on the experienced figures and Matt Prior will be one of those looking over his shoulder with Jos Buttler competing for his wicket-keeping place in the Test team.
The 32-year-old has been an established member of England’s Test side since his debut in 2007 with 75 appearances and with an impressive batting average of 40.83, he adds valuable runs down the order. Recently he has struggled for form in Test cricket and with the emergence of Buttler who plays in England’s limited-over cricket sides; he is now under more pressure than ever to perform.
Prior, who is nicknamed ‘Big Cheese’, was dropped for the final two Ashes tests in Australia but has responded impeccably in this seasons County Championship opening fixture with the first century of the season as he put Sussex in control against Middlesex.
His reply to the England selector’s decision has been sublime and his talent behind the stumps and with the bat is unquestionable but the move to youth over experience could be his downfall and Buttler is waiting in line for his place.
The 23-year-old Somerset-born keeper is known for his explosive power and brutal strength which has made him an ideal player for the shorter form of the game. Nonetheless his temperament and ability to bat for long periods is still something he is yet to prove himself in which is something he will need to develop if he is to keep for England across all formats.
Buttler has made 27 One-Day International appearances along with 35 Twenty20 matches but is yet to feature in a Test Match. His average in First-Class Cricket is just over 30 which suggests he must improve his ability to keep calm and composed at the crease and score big runs. With only three-centuries as well, his statistics will need to improve if he is the long-term answer to South-African born Prior.
The Lancashire and England player does though have a lot of time on his side and with the transformations being made in English cricket at the moment, this could be an ideal chance for them to bring new blood into the team and replace Prior with fresh new talent.
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