London: Former England wicket-keeper Bob Taylor has warned that picking players who are in the side primarily for their batting rather than their ability behind the stumps is a false economy.
His comments came after Matt Prior, England's latest Test keeper, endured a difficult series with the gloves during a 2-1 series defeat at home to India.
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"When you've got somebody like (Australia's) Adam Gilchrist who can bat and keep wickets then you are very lucky, but if the decision is marginal I'll always go for a wicketkeeper-batsman rather than a batsman-wicketkeeper.
"An inferior wicket-keeper is always found out," added former Derbyshire stumper Taylor, "and there can be a costly miss, like Prior's drop of (Sachin) Tendulkar in the first innings at The Oval last week."
"Prior was picked by England for his batting. He started off well against West Indies earlier in the summer but it is beginning to sort him out now."
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell, who played international cricket alongside Rodney Marsh, widely regarded as one of the game's great keepers, said Prior's performance did not reflect well on England coach Peter Moores.
Moores, the former Sussex keeper, has worked with Prior since he joined the south coast county as a junior player. "I'm told (Moores) has had Prior since the Under-13s and if that's the footwork from that coach from Under-13 to now, they've got a problem," said Chappell.
Contrasting India keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's performance with that of Prior, Chappell added: "Dhoni is pretty good standing up to (Anil) Kumble and does a decent job.
"The difference is I see a future in what Dhoni is doing. I don't see any future as a Test-match wicketkeeper in what Prior is doing."
Taylor meanwhile said constant sledging by the wicket-keeper of opposition batsmen, something for which Prior was heavily criticised during the India series, was unacceptable.
"It's a load of rubbish," said the 66-year-old Taylor, "because while you are doing that you are not concentrating on your job. It is totally out of order in my book and not part of the game."
Taylor, regarded as one of England's neatest and most techically correct wicket-keepers, had a Test batting average of less than 17 - a figure which would be considered far too low by most current selectors around the world.
He maded his debut in New Zealand in 1971, largely as a 'thank you' for being a good team man during the preceding Ashes-winning tour of Australia.
But for the next six years Alan Knott, a superior batsman but also a top-class wicket-keeper, kept Taylor out of the Test side until he signed for Kerry Packer's 'rebel' World Series Cricket.
India Vs England Test series