Prior chases 'massive' reward

Matt Prior has issued a rallying call ahead of the Ashes, telling England to seize their opportunity to become history makers Down Under this winter.

Matt Prior has issued a rallying call ahead of the Ashes, telling England to seize their opportunity to become history makers Down Under this winter.
England landed in Australia on Thursday and play their first game of their eagerly-anticipated tour later this week against Western Australia.
Before the squad departed, Prior addressed the media at Lord's, where England thrashed their old foes by 347 runs on their way to a famous 3-0 series win this summer.
Two months after they rounded off the series with a draw at the Oval, Andy Flower's men are still full to the brim with enthusiasm and optimism ahead of the upcoming trip to Australia, where they can become the first side since 1890 to win four successive Ashes series.
Prior believes Australia will do everything they can to stop England from doing so, but if there is any trepidation from within the camp, then it certainly is not showing.
"Four in a row would be a massive achievement. It's a huge carrot," said Prior.
"In 2009 we were having a meeting at Lord's and said it was 75 years since we beat Australia here – we have to change that. We did it.
"We won in India for the first time in 28 years, and won the Ashes in Australia for the first time in 25 years.
"Those stats really get us going and the team enjoys those challenges and making that bit of history.
"This four in a row would be the biggest thing in my career and I imagine also for the other boys."
The squad met up for a secret boot camp in the Midlands last week, which enhanced team spirit and trust – both of which will be vital ahead of a gruelling tour which will, for some, span five months.
And after denying Australia a single Test win during the last Ashes, it is also clear that England have impressive recent control over their once mighty opponents.
"The plan is to go over there, win and win well," a bullish Prior said.
"The experience of beating them in 2010-11 is hugely important.
"I look back at the memories of travelling to Australia and they are all great memories – winning games, playing well, the team scoring big scores, bowling Australia out.
"All of those very positive thoughts come into your mind before you've even got on the plane and that's vital.
"Those days when the guys used to think "oh my goodness we are going to Australia again, we are going to get beaten up" – those days are gone."
Darren Lehmann's claim that England play "very dour" cricket, does not wash, therefore.
"We don't pay any attention to that," the wicketkeeper added.
"We play a winning brand of cricket and we will continue to work on winning games of cricket and series.
"We have played three Ashes series and won three. That is the important thing."
Unlike Sir Ian Botham, who has forecast an England whitewash, Prior resisted the temptation to predict the score in Australia. "God bless Beefy," Prior says with a smile.
Any winning margin will do. To achieve that, improvements will have to come from within the XI.
Bigger scores are required at the top of the order and Prior knows he must start chipping in at seven too. His form has nosedived since being named England player of the year this May.
Prior reached double figures on just four occasions during the Ashes and did not pass 50 once.
The Sussex gloveman describes his form as "horrendous" and has been doing everything he can to put it right.
The 31-year-old has lost nine kilograms in weight after doing five 100km rides on what he describes as a "savage" exercise bike.
"I am completely addicted to it – it's almost getting in the way of the cricket," Prior said.
"I haven't been allowed to take my bike over, but I will have one there that I can ride.
"I know a lot of people say that this doesn't get you runs, wickets or catches but it gives you the best opportunity to stay away from fatigue and gives you a better chance of performing."