Matt Prior: England must embrace the challenge of Pakistan series

Published: Thursday 1st October 2015 by The News Editor

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Matt Prior believes England must embrace the opportunity to banish memories of their “nightmare” series against Pakistan three years ago.

Prior was part of the side that was routed 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates in 2012, a tour that saw Pakistan spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman run riot.

England had recently moved to the top of the International Cricket Council rankings, but crashed back to earth with a bump.

Prior, who topped a dismal set of England averages with 37.50, acknowledges that trip was one to forget but expects Alastair Cook’s men to begin putting that right.

“People will look back on that tour and say it was a nightmare for us and to be honest it was a nightmare,” he told Press Association Sport.

“We had just gone to number one and that came with huge pressures and expectations we probably didn’t deal very well with.

“Pakistan know those conditions very well and know how to play so it’s very hard to beat them, but this is a huge opportunity for these guys.

“It’s a tour they need to embrace and enjoy. It’s a different type of cricket to England, there’ll be huge amounts of spin being bowled and slow, attritional cricket.”

England’s head coach Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace have both worked with Sri Lanka in the past, and that knowledge of sub-continental cricket could be a secret weapon for the tourists.

“Trevor has lots of experience and coached Sri Lanka so that will come in very handy in helping our guys develop,” said Prior, who retired in June due to injury.

“It is a chance for them to learn more about their game, play on these kind of wickets and improve themselves.

“Trevor is an outstanding coach and he has the task of taking the talent in that dressing room from strength to strength.

“With the likes of Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jos Buttler at his disposal that is hugely exciting.”

Pakistan may never have lost a Test series in their adopted home, but Prior’s former England team-mate Graeme Swann is confident that will change.

Speaking at the Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day at Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Swann said: “I think it will be a tough series for England but I’m hopeful they can do well.

“I think they’ll sneak the series 2-0. The bowlers did well last time but the batsmen really struggled with some of the spinners over there, but they’re not the force they were now the ICC have changed the laws on straight arms a little bit.”

Published: Thursday 1st October 2015 by The News Editor

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