Suresh Raina: Awesome in India blues, enigmatic in whites

Selflessness. Professionalism. Excellence. Three words that could so easily be used when the misfit in India's Test side dons the blue one-day kit.

updated: September 06, 2012 13:38 IST
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In The Spin, the Guardian's excellent cricket blog, Rob Smyth analysed the curious case of Matt Prior, a cornerstone of English success in the Test arena who can't get a game in coloured clothes. Back in 2007, when India won the Trent Bridge Test and consequently the series after much ado about jellybeans, Prior was seen as something of a prat. His glove-work was ordinary and the batting a letdown after the pyrotechnics of his debut series against West Indies. The Indians clearly thought that his deeds didn't match his mouth.

Last summer, when they went back to England, Prior made a hundred and two half-centuries. Even in a team where every man summoned up something exceptional, his assurance and class stood out. After 58 Tests, Prior averages 42.61 with the bat. Any iron-gloves jokes were canned years ago.

As Smyth wrote, "His selflessness, professionalism, excuse-aversion and excellence are such that, with Andrew Strauss gone, he is arguably the most impressive man in the England team. And although disciples of Alan Knott's genius would legitimately be appalled at the suggestion, in purely statistical terms there is a strong case for Prior making an all-time England Test XI."

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