When someone does something so monumentally brilliant as Matt Prior’s match saving century salvaging an unlikely draw from the jaws of defeat against New Zealand, it’s easy to get carried away.
But not in the case of Matt Prior. If his career was to end tomorrow, he would most likely go down with some phenomenal accolades. These would include:
- Greatest ever English wicket keeper batsman
- Finest wicket-keeper batsman in world cricket today
- One of the top twenty, (perhaps even top 10!) greatest ever English cricketers
I can hear the cries of bullshit reverberating around. To those cries, why don’t you dig a little deeper?
Of English cricketers who have played at least 60 Test matches, Matt Prior’s batting average of 45.56 is the 12th highest batting average.
Since January 1st 2011, Prior has averaged 52 with the bat, which is a staggering feat in itself in a time when ball has dominated over bat. He is a genuine batsman and a genuine wicketkeeper. But that stat doesn’t paint the full extent of Prior’s genius. On episode 93 of One Hand One Bounce, Jonathan Howcroft (@JPHowcroft – follow him on twitter!) uncovered a real beauty of a stat.
Of English cricketers who have played at least 60 Test matches, Matt Prior’s batting average of 45.56 is the 12th highest batting average. That puts him above the likes of Graham Thorpe, Graham Gooch, David Gower, Michael Atherton, Alec Stewart, and Mike Gatting.
The names he comes above are staggering. When you consider his glovework is impeccable, then you really see his genius. Take Alec Stewart for example. One of my favourite players growing up. He was primarily a batsman and throughout his career had the eccentric Jack Russell snapping at his heels for the keeping slot. With Prior, that question has never even been a thought.
The purists will know doubt say Alan Knott is the better keeper, but did he have as big an impact of the outcome of matches as much as Matthew Prior?
Statistics aside, the true greatness of Matt Prior is his approach to his cricket – the team always comes above Matt Prior. How many times has he batting selflessly in the hope of quick runs to dramatically improve the match situation for England? How much better could his average have been if this wasn’t the case?
Luckily for English fans, Matt Prior is still only 31. He has a good few years in him left. He is perhaps the figure most crucial to keeping the balance of the English side.
Where do you rate Matt Prior in terms of overall greatness?
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