Prior steps back from England duty

Matt Prior is going to take some time out

Matt Prior is going to take some time out

First published in National Sport © by

Matt Prior has taken a step back from England duty for the rest of the summer due to injury.

The 32-year-old revealed that he has a series of complaints which are hampering his performances and he expects to go under the knife to sort out his Achilles problem during the break.

"I'm not doing justice to myself and more importantly the team and that is what matters first and foremost," Prior said in comments reported by several national newspapers.

"I tore my quad before the first Test and my right hand has been beaten to a pulp, but the main issue is the Achilles.

"Now we have the time, I want to be pro-active about how we deal with it so I imagine that I'll have an operation.

"I've always said as long as I can do my job I will manage the pain and get on with it, but it has now got to the point where I can't do my job to the level I expect of myself."

Prior, who earned the first of 79 England Test caps against the West Indies in 2007, acknowledged that the decision could effectively end his international career.

"It is a huge decision and not one I've taken lightly obviously because I could have played my last game," he added.

The Sussex wicketkeeper has come under fire during an England slump which extended to 10 Tests without a win on Monday as India triumphed by 95 runs at Lord's, with Prior only managing 12 runs in the second innings as Ishant Sharma tore through England's middle order.

Prior says he has made the decision for the good of the team and has wished whoever comes in to replace him - likely to be Lancashire's Jos Buttler - the best of luck.

"I've made my decision for the good of the team and whoever comes in I genuinely wish them the best of luck and hope they go well and perform and help the team win. That is all I want," he said.

"If that happens and I don't play again, then that was my lot. I'll be disappointed because there are a few things that I wanted to achieve and thought I would, but I can also look back and know I did some pretty good things."

Speaking to Sky Sports 2, Prior re-iterated that he remains as determined as ever to play for England but just wants to take time out to get 100 per cent fit.

"I need to give myself a good deal of time to get right and have the necessary procedures. I don't want to retire," he said.

"I would love to play for England again and I have hopes of doing that. As it stands now there are three Tests and that's quite a lot of time. It's the way it works out but I will then do my utmost to get fit and ready, raring to go for the back end of the winter and into next summer."

Prior said he has been trying to overcome fitness problems for most of the summer, but they are now having too much of an impact on his performances for him to ignore any longer.

"I have to be very honest with myself, my team-mates, my coach and my captain. I don't believe I'm able to perform at the level I expect of myself, the level I want to perform at for England with the injuries I'm carrying at the moment," he added.

"It's been something I've been fighting obviously, everyone knows I've fought injury for most of this summer... When it affects movement and I can't play to the level I want to then it becomes an issue and that's what's happened in this game."

The 32-year-old, who has won three Ashes Series, said if this does herald the end of his England career he will be disappointed but will also have plenty to look back on and be proud of.

"The one that stands out for me is reaching No. 1 in the world," Prior said.

"Standing on that podium at the Oval, it was such a colossal effort to win consistently for so long. I use the word 'team' a lot and that's what's most important. You come through shared hardships and you come through them together. "

Former England captain Alec Stewart said Prior had made a "sensible decision" to step aside.

"Matt Prior makes sensible decision to stand down for rest of the series," Stewart said on Twitter. "He needs to regain fitness to then perform to his usual high level.

"Expect Jos Buttler to replace Prior, but don't be surprised if you see Prior wearing the England shirt again in the future."

Stewart tweeted that Chris Read and James Foster are "the best glovemen in England," but added that Buttler had already been called up as cover for Prior this season.

And another ex-England wicketkeeper, Paul Nixon, praised Prior for his stance.

Nixon said on Twitter: "Very brave and ultimate tough decision, bud, honest and all for the team."

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