Matt Prior : Ashes Success will depend on Fast Bowlers, and they will deliver

Matt Prior, the former England wicketkeeper, believes that Joe Root led England Ashes squad has the right armour of fast bowlers to match the methods that delivered their last victory in an overseas Ashes campaign in 2010-11 – but only if their batters can score enough runs to keep England competitive across the five-Test series.

Bowlers deliver, the key is for England Batters to Perform – Prior

“England taking 20 wickets hasn’t been the problem,” Prior, an ambassador for, told ESPNcricinfo. “The key will be, can England score enough runs to give the bowlers an opportunity to take 20 wickets? It’s no secret that England haven’t scored enough runs for a period of time.”

Talking about the man in form and captain Joe Root, Prior was full of praise for him, saying, “We all hope Joe is going to score a massive amount runs, he’s one of the best players in the world, if not the best at the moment,” Prior said. “But we also can’t just lump the whole pressure on one guy. The top five, six batters need to score consistently the bulk of the runs.

“In 2010-11, it was very clear what our batsmen had to do. [Andrew] Strauss, [Alastair] Cook and [Jonathan] Trott in that top three had to lay a foundation. If they didn’t score quickly, they had to bat time and get a get a real solid foundation for KP, Bell and Collingwood to come in and take the attack to tired bowlers, bowling with an older ball. It’s really that simple.”

Building pressure leads to Batsmen throwing away their wicket – Prior

Prior made an extremely logical statement, showing how good of a cricketing brain he is. He said, “Making sure that you’re very clear on your own plans is crucial,” Prior said. “If you’re bowling on pretty flat wickets, which they are in Australia, and the ball’s not moving, through swing, reverse or spin, then you have to take wickets by building pressure, that’s your only other option.

“Everyone will talk about Jimmy Anderson’s ability to swing the ball and he’s the best in the world at doing that, but the other thing that Anderson does is go at two an over. When the ball isn’t swinging, he doesn’t go for runs, and that builds pressure.

“People expect runs to be scored quickly, and even in Test matches now, you’re looking at run rates of 3.5 an over as normal. So building pressure is a skill in itself, and one that people underestimate. It’s not just about hanging the ball wide, it’s about being able to stay very tight on your line and length, and execute your skill ball after ball after ball, without getting bored.”

Mark Wood is a must have character on the field, in the dressing room – Prior

Pace matters. Everywhere. But in Australia, it matters the most. Ask Prior himself about the 2013-14 Ashes. Mitchell Johnson ran through the batting lineup of England with his sheer pace, unmatched by anyone else. Mark Wood can emulate Johnson, feels Prior.

“I wouldn’t suggest that Mark Wood is a liability, quite the opposite actually. He brings so much more to the dressing room, with regards to his character. He is the kind of guy you want in Australia, because he will step up.
“It’s going to be partisan crowds down there,” Prior added. “There won’t be the Barmy Army, the players are going to have to stand up and tolerate what’s going to come their way, and Mark Wood is definitely one of those guys.
“But the captain and coach are going to have to be really clear on how they use him,” he added. “In that series that we all try and forget [2013-14], Mitchell Johnson rarely bowled more than three overs in any one spell. He could have taken six wickets in those three overs, but he would come off, and it would be back to Ryan Harris, back to Nathan Lyon, back to Peter Siddle. It was very, very clear what their plan was.


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