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November 2008
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Matt Prior: The Triumphs And Tribulations Of England’s Wicketkeeper (at time of writing)

November 20th, 2008 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, England in India, One-day cricket

They’ve changed my role in the team but it’s nothing personal. Instead of my shouting, which Mooresy says is one of my biggest assets, they want me to focus more on chirping.

In these Indian conditions you have to be a little bit more clever, wait for your opportunities. For instance, in England, I’d just shout: “BOWLING!” after every delivery, or: “SORRY, I DIDN’T SEE IT IN THE LIGHTS.”

But here, I’ll adapt, try and unsettle the batsman. I’ll say: “Bowling… Or is it?” or maybe get inside the opponent’s mental space area by whispering: “I could have caught that if I wanted” in a haunting falsetto.

All good keepers know exactly the right thing to say to each batsman. Today for instance, I said to Yuvraj: “What do you keep winning man-of-the-match for? You can’t even ride those motorbikes.” I could tell it got him thinking, because he was shaking his head in disbelief. He didn’t score a boundary for the rest of the over, apart from a four.

It’s almost like being a psychiatrist really, except that you are not trying to interpret unconscious behaviour as the manifestation of sublimated subconscious wants or traumas, just trying to get up in their grille if the ball’s doing a bit outside off. I’ll leave the head-shrinking to Snapey and his ‘Jung And Malibu Consultation Sessions’. It’s fascinating stuff and if you want to learn a bit about the mental side of the game, get yourself down to the pool bar area at 6pm of an evening (bring own mixers).

It was disappointing to lose today on the Duckworth/Lewis, but you can’t legislate for everything, as Mooresy quite rightly says. Who would have thought it would get dark at the same time two days in a row? But there are a lot of positives for us to take from the performance: the fact that Yuvraj didn’t get a motorbike, to name but one.

England are in the fortunate position at the moment of having several keepers who can contribute things other than just runs and catches and stumpings. Timmy’s got his guitar, I’ve got my mental disintegration as mentioned above, Phil Mustard’s knocking on the door with his René from ‘Allo ‘Allo. You throw in Foster and Read – who are admittedly both a bit one-dimensional (OBSESSED with catching!) – and it must be a nice selection headache to have. I can tell, as Mooresy is often rubbing his temples after wickie practice.

Matt Prior was ‘chirping’ to Alan Tyers

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, England in India, One-day cricket |

2 Responses to “Matt Prior: The Triumphs And Tribulations Of England’s Wicketkeeper (at time of writing)”

  1.   Sree says:

    OBSESSED with catching - LOL!
    No ‘chirps’ about who drives a Porsche, eh?

  2.   Harriet says:

    *giggle giggle giggle*

    Oh dear I’m laughing so hard I can’t breathe.

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