Graeme Swann hails England team-mate Matt Prior as world's best batsman
Graeme Swann believes England team-mate Matt Prior is the best batsman in world cricket on current form.
Last Updated: 28/03/13 4:35pm
Prior marshalled a memorable England rearguard with the bat in Auckland, producing a quite superb unbeaten century as the tourists saved the final Test, and the series, in thrilling circumstances.
His knock of 110 not out also saw England's wicketkeeper-batsman enter the top 10 of the ICC's batting rankings for the first time, climbing above team-mates Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen in the process.
Swann - now back in England recovering from elbow surgery - paid handsome tribute to Prior, insisting there is currently no finer performer with the bat in the Test arena than the 31-year-old.
"He's the best player in world cricket at the minute in my view," Swann told Sky Sports.
"He gets runs every time he goes to the crease and I like the manner of his batting as well, he's never afraid to play his shots and he's very 'up and at 'em' every time he goes in there.
"It's richly deserved (his rankings rise) and we wouldn't change him for the world."
Swann also believes the drawn series in New Zealand will prove valuable preparation with a vitally-important summer of cricket ahead.
England defend the Ashes against Australia in just a few months' time and the off-spinner - who is hopeful of being fit for the series - insists their battling displays in New Zealand will stand them in good stead.
"To hang on for the draw (in Auckland), starting with Ian Bell and then all the way through to Matty Prior with his magnificent unbeaten hundred with a bit of comedy thrown in at the end, the Test match had everything," he continued.
"It's a shame England didn't win the series; I think we went over there expecting to and hoping to win the series, but that will be the kick up the backside I think we need.
"Because going into a big summer, an Ashes summer, is huge and those two Test matches against New Zealand probably have a little extra significance than they might have done."