Prior backs Pietersen to come good

Published: Friday, July 6, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

More images

Kevin Pietersen may be undergoing something of a slump by his own standards but Matt Prior has said it will be no surprise to his England team-mates if he plays a match-winning innings in Saturday's final one-day international against the West Indies at Trent Bridge.

Pietersen, the leading batsman in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings for one-day cricket, has scored just 77 runs in four limited overs internationals this season.

But with the three-match series level at 1-1, after West Indies' 61-run win at Edgbaston here Wednesday, Prior is expecting great things of his fellow South Africa-born cricketer.

"He is a fantastic cricketer, a champion legend who will become a legend of the game," England wicket-keeper Prior said Thursday.

"When he doesn't score runs for a couple of games, people start talking about a crisis.

"He's hitting the ball brilliantly in the nets and I'm sure he'll score a brilliant hundred very soon - and it might even be on Saturday."

However, even if Pietersen does come good that may not be enough for England if they cannot dismiss Shivnarine Chanderpaul cheaply, provided he takes the field aftjer suffering a right ankle ligament injury.

The 32-year-old left-hander averaged over 148 in a four-match Test series the West Indies lost 3-0, batting for more than 24 hours.

And he provided fresh evidence of his ability to attack, as well as defend, with 116 not out in Wednesday's victory.

"I've spent most of the summer looking at the back of his bat," Prior said. "He's a fantastic player and he's showed that time and again in the past few weeks. You must take your hat off to him.

"His concentration seems unbreakable and he's just so stubborn.

"He wants to bat and bat, he never gets bored with batting and scoring runs," Prior added.

"He's having one of those purple patches that the top players go through. "He's very experienced and I don't think any vocals from me from behind the stumps are going to affect him," said Prior, not shy of making the odd comment.

"All we can do is to continue working on our plans and hope we get him out early on Saturday."

Prior, used as an opener in one-day cricket, scored his maiden limited overs international fifty on Wednesday.

Rapid run-scoring at the top of the innings proved a problem for England at the World Cup where Prior, 25, failed to make the squad.

But the overcast, seam-bowler friendly, conditions in which this current series has been played have made ball-striking early on difficult.

"It's a difficult balance," Prior said. "I'm always looking to be aggressive but you must be careful, especially in English conditions when the ball moves around a fair bit early on.

"If the ball is seaming, nobody in the world can score at seven, eight, nine-an-over without taking risks. So you must weigh up the situation.

"Some days, it is more important to keep wickets in hand. The West Indies showed that yesterday (Wednesday) - they kept wickets in hand and that made the final 10 overs much easier. They could really attack us.

"Other times, though, you can really try to hit the ball and attack the bowling. It's a case of thinking on your feet - all the best one-day cricketers think on their feet."

Write Comments