Boucher exclusive: 'Prior crucial to England plans'

Australia

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher says England will be on a bit of a sticky wicket if Matt Prior is unable to take up the gloves for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, despite having a strong side overall.

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher says England will be on a bit of a sticky wicket if Matt Prior is unable to take up the gloves for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, despite having a strong side overall.

Prior picked up a calf injury during a warm-up match and has been in a race for fitness ahead of Thursday's series opener. While he came through training well on Monday, it's still not a certainty that he will start.

Boucher, speaking at his book launch in Cape Town, felt Prior to be a vital part of the Three Lions side, given the conditions Down Under would be very different to the ones they faced at home when they won three-nil earlier this year.

Boucher told <i><b>Cricket365</b></i> exclusively: "You never underestimate Australia in Australia. I do think England have got a very strong side, but I don't know if they're going to do well without Matt Prior.

"I think he's a very big part of that side, so if they can get him onto the field then I think they will be very strong. They also have very good bowlers in all conditions."

As for predicting the Ashes result, Boucher went with the flow and said that while the Aussies would win a Test, he didn't think they had the fire power in the batting order to take the little urn off England.

Boucher continued: "Australia are definitely going to win a Test match. Whether they'll be able to win more that one? I'm not too sure. I think England will probably be too strong.

"That's probably going with the general consensus. But in saying that, you only need for one or two very good players to have a good series.

"Let's put it this way: There are a lot of good players in the England side who can have a good series, and then Australia don't stand a chance. If I look at the Australia side, there are only one or two batsmen that could really stand up to it.

"I mean Michael Clarke and Shane Watson. Those are the two classier players. You'll have guys who will chip in here and there, guys like (Steve) Smith, but if you look at the England side, they have three or four batsmen who can have great series.

"England have more match-winners than Australia have. Simply put. If they play to their full potential then they'll win."

<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>

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