Cook '99 percent sure' Prior will play

England

England captain Alastair Cook is "99 per cent sure" that wicket-keeper Matt Prior will play in the first Investec Test against India at Trent Bridge.

Captain Alastair Cook has all but confirmed wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior's presence in England's XI for the first Test against India, which will get underway at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday.

Prior, who recovered from an Achilles injury prior to last month's series against Sri Lanka, hurt a thigh muscle during practice on Monday. The uncapped Jos Buttler, meanwhile, has been added to the squad as a potential replacement.

"We're 99 percent sure that he'll be fine but we'll have a little check in the morning just to make sure," said Cook. "But all things at the moment are looking good."

The left-handed Cook's waning form at the top of the order remained the subject of heavy criticism on Tuesday. He has not scored a Test century in two dozen innings – and was particularly poor versus the Sri Lankans at Lord's and Headingley.

"I never have felt that I have been hitting the ball particularly badly. I scored some runs for Essex at the beginning of the season. I have not managed to transform that into runs for England," he added.

"I know how important it is to do that and I'm desperately keen to lead from the front and score some runs. As a batter you are in there as one of the top six batters in the country and your job is to score the runs to set up the match for England. It doesn't matter if you are captain or not.

"I haven't been doing that over the last year or so. Nobody is keener than me to put that right and I have worked very hard over these last 10 days. I have just got to make sure my mind is totally clear so I can concentrate on the most important thing, which is that ball coming down."

Former skipper Nasser Hussain, meanwhile, has acknowledged the importance of fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad's roles in Nottingham. All-rounder Ben Stokes will likely be recalled to an attack minus the services of a specialist spinner, but including burgeoning slow bowler Moeen Ali.

Given the workload ahead, Cook will need to look after Anderson and Broad and rotation and rest will be a theme. Some of the long spells that Anderson bowled at Headingley – particularly early on – worried me," Hussain told <i>Sky Sports</i>.

"England's lack of a frontline spinner means there is a danger that the seamers could get bowled into the ground so if the selectors go with Ali, Cook has got to use him to give the seamers some rest."

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