Matthew James Prior, also nicknamed as “Big Cheese”, is a former English cricketer who has played all formats of the game. Primarily a test player, he was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 26 February 1982.
He is a right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman and bats aggressively. He is the first English wicketkeeper to score a century on his Test debut and is the second-fastest English wicket-keeper after Les Ames to reach 1,000 test runs.
Matt Prior was born in South Africa, and moved to England when he was 11 years old. He joined Brighton College and started playing cricket for Sussex County Cricket Club in 2001.
He also played his colts cricket at St Matthias CC during his early years. He played six seasons at Sussex before breaking in to the national team in 2004 and the test team in 2007.
Matt Prior made his international debut in an ODI against Zimbabwe on 5 December 2004. He opened with Ian Bell and made 35 runs before he was dismissed by Ed Rainsford.
He made his Test debut on 17 May 2007 against West Indies and scored 126 runs off 146 balls, in what was an impressive innings. He made his T20 debut on 28 June 2007 against West Indies and scored 25 runs off 14 balls.
Rise to Glory
After entering international boundary in 2004, Matt Prior had two unsuccessful years behind the wicket as well as a batsman. His shorter format debuts failed to impress. However, his test form carried on to the next matches after debut.
He was decent behind the stumps, but needed a lot of improvement. He was subsequently dropped from the team in 2007.
He returned to the side in 2008, and would go on to be a regular presence in the test team and for the majority of time in the ODI side.
He was one of the best performers in the 2009 and 2011 Ashes series and provided a steadfast batting accuracy at number seven. He played quite aggressively, driving the ball with venom and playing a few pull strokes as well. His keeping skills improved by a huge margin and he would hold the position in tests and ODIs.
Prior played a total of 79 tests, scoring 4,099 runs at an average of 40.18. He played 68 ODIs, scoring 1,282 runs at an average of 24.18. He played only 10 T20s, and was reserved mainly as a test player.
Matt Prior mainly struggled in his national career due to his poor wicket-keeping skills. He was known as a “big talker” behind the stumps, and lost his position to Tim Ambrose quite a few times.
He was once involved in an ugly incident at the Lord’s when he smashed a window due to frustration. He was reprimanded by the ICC and let off without a fine.
Matt Prior retired from all formats of cricket in June 2015 due to his prolonged Achilles tendon injury.