Matt Prior 'should be in England's Champions Trophy squad'
Dominic Cork says England are wrong to leave Matt Prior out of their Champions Trophy squad.
Last Updated: 04/04/13 6:17pm
England have named four uncapped players in the group - Yorkshire batsman Garry Balance, Warwickshire duo Chris Wright and Varun Chopra and Middlesex bowler James Harris - while all-rounder Rikki Clarke is recalled at the age of 31. Read the story in full.
But while Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann, who is currently recovering from elbow surgery, are both included there is no place for Sussex stopper Prior who earned the most recent of his 68 ODI caps against Sri Lanka in March 2011. In 62 innings he averages 24.18.
"If you talk to players in the England dressing room but also former England players - especially Alec Stewart, who believes Prior is possibly one of the best wicket-keeping batsmen in the world at present - they rate him," former England all-rounder Dominic Cork told Sky Sports News.
"Graeme Swann has always talked about Matt Prior and what an excellent player he is in the Test arena yet Craig Kieswetter keeps getting selected when he doesn't perform for England perhaps as well as he does for Somerset.
"England have the likes of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow in that squad who can perform the wicket-keeping duties but I would have liked to have seen Prior in there. Prior is a senior batsman and I think England have missed an opportunity.
"Yes, he's played before and perhaps hasn't performed as well as he should do but I think Prior should be in there."
Limited overs coach Ashley Giles has included six Warwickshire players in the preliminary party - Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Chopra, Clarke, Wright and Woakes.
Opener Chopra has played 66 one-day matches for Essex, Warwickshire and the England Lions, scoring nearly 2,500 runs while Wright has played 85 one-day matches taking 84 wickets.
However it is the return of Clarke, who averaged 11 with the bat and has taken 11 wickets at 37 apiece in 20 ODI appearances for England between June 2003 and September 2006, that caught Cork's eye.
"I think the likes of Rikki Clarke, Varun Chopra and Chris Wright - plus Chris Woakes - shows just how strong Warwickshire are at the moment," he reflected.
"Clarke has had his taste of international cricket before when he was at Surrey. He had a few fallouts and came to Derbyshire and signed a five-year contract with John Morris and had another bit of a fall out.
"But I think he's found his place back at Warwickshire. He's a good, talented cricketer who perhaps now has settled down and really wants to perform.
"I'm glad to see that they are bringing back players who have shown that they are potentially good enough to play at international level.
"They'll have a chance to perform in the newly-named Yorkshire Bank 40 competition that starts on May 3. They have 12 days before that squad gets cut down from 30 to 15 and they'll want to nail down a place in that squad."
England will play Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Group A of the Champions Trophy, with the top two sides going through to the semi-finals.
You can watch the tournament on Sky Sports from June 6 with England's opening game - against Australia - taking place at Edgbaston on June 8.