England v Pakistan – Prior not getting ahead of himself
Matt Prior has vowed England are not thinking about the Ashes yet as they prepare to take on Pakistan in the four-Test summer series, which the Three Lions are 4/9 to win.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Prior returns to the team for the first Test which starts at Trent Bridge on Thursday (with England 5/6 to win), after Craig Kieswetter wore the gloves in England’s recent limited-overs matches.
The Johannesburg-born player is 25/1 to be named man of the match, which starts at 11.00am.
And the 28-year-old stresses he, together with his team-mates, cannot afford to think of the matches as preparation games for their winter trip to Australia. England are 5/2 to win the Ashes Down Under.
“I think it’s dangerous to call it a dress rehearsal. I don’t think there’s any feeling like that at all,” Prior said.
“The Ashes is coming up, yes, but Pakistan look a very strong team and they look in good nick at the minute. We’ve got to make sure we approach this series as we would any other and make sure we go in and win the series.”
Such a positive result is expected, as highlighted by odds which have the home side to win the series 2-1, 3-0, and 2-0 as the best priced options in the series correct score market. They are priced at 9/2, 5/1 and 6/1 respectively.
The odds reflect Prior’s confidence: “It’s fantastic to be here. The team looks in great shape and hopefully we can put in a really good performance starting on Thursday.”
While Prior is not looking at the Ashes, Paul Collingwood, who is 3/2 to get a half century in the first innings, believes England can give themselves a big lift ahead of the winter by winning the series against Pakistan.
Admitting there was one eye on the Ashes, Collingwood said: “Absolutely of course we have. It’s only two months away, and it’s getting closer and closer.” Australia are the 4/7 favourites to win the series against England.
The Durham man said England will use Pakistan’s recent series with Australia as guidance for both teams. “We’ve seen what Pakistan can do over the past couple of games, and we feel we’ve got the skills in the locker.” A 4-0 England whitewash is 10/1.
England’s must guard against confidence turning into arrogance. Pakistan have a brutal bowling attack and are a generous 10/3 to win the match and 4/1 to win the series.