Matt Prior (R. 1995-00)

Born: February 26, 1982, Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa, English ODI and Test cricketer - wicket-keeper, but has also played as a specialist opening batsman. His English county team is Sussex...

Matthew Prior moved to England from South Africa and represented England at all ages, up to and including the Under-19 squad, making his Sussex debut in 2001. An aggressive batsman whose wicketkeeping development has been slightly hampered by having to share county duties with Tim Ambrose, he toured India with the England A side in 2003-04. He was selected to tour Zimbabwe as part of England's one-day squad in November 2004 and played in just one match, striking 35. He rejoined the A team for their series against United Arab Emirates and, after an unconvincing first match - he made 0 - he went on hit 84, 56 and 122 not out. He had less success in the subsequent triangular tournament against Sri Lanka A and Pakistan A. Prior earned selection for the England winter tours of Pakistan and India in 2005-06, but playing mostly as a batsman he failed to make any real impact. This lack of form resulted in him missing out of the Champions Trophy in October 2006, but he was named in the Academy squad to be stationed in Perth during the 2006-07 Ashes series. Two fifties in England A's 2-1 win over Bangladesh A wasn't enough to book him a World Cup berth, but his chance arrived when he was named in the squad for the first Test against West Indies. He began in thrilling fashion, becoming the first England wicketkeeper to score a century on debut with an unbeaten 126 at Lord's, followed by 75 at Headingley.

At 11.00 on Thursday 17th May, Matt Prior (R. 1995-00) became ‘Matthew Prior, Brighton College, Sussex and England’ as he made his test debut at Lords.

Matt Prior was chosen ahead of Paul Nixon for keeper's spot for the first Test of the summer at Lord's against the West Indies. He scored a hundred on his debut, taking just 105 deliveries and hitting 16 boundaries after coming in at number 7, and finishing on 126 not out. He became the first England wicket keeper to score a Test hundred on debut and the 17th English batsman to record the feat overall. The last wicketkeeper to make a half century on debut was Jack Russell, who scored 94 against Sri Lanka at Lords in 1988. Prior was one of four centurions in the innings along with Alastair Cook, Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell. It was the first time since 1938 that four England players scored hundreds in the same innings of a Test match.

Matt played for the College 1st XI for five seasons (1996-00) and helped to raise Brighton College's profile on the cricket circuit to one of the strongest teams in the country. He was a key member of the 1999 XI that won 20 matches, the best ever by any school team in a season. Always an individual, he played exciting cricket; perhaps the most memorable was his 205 not out in India. Captaincy brought the best out of him, something perhaps the Sussex and England selectors should bear in mind.

With his old mentor from Sussex, Peter Moores, in charge he has the best possible start in what should be a new era for England’s test side. It is a great moment for Matt and for Brighton College and we wish him every success.

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