Willis will miss 'fine servant' Prior

England

Former fast bowler Bob Willis has lamented the absence of wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior for the remainder of England's five-Test series against the Indians.

Former fast bowler Bob Willis has lamented the absence of wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior for the remainder of England's five-Test series against the Indians.

Prior, who is nursing an Achilles heel injury, dropped two catches and scored just 35 runs during a 95-run defeat in the second match at Lord's, will undergo surgery this month.

"My reaction is one of great sadness. Prior has been a very fine servant to England. He's bounced back twice from being dropped from the side, he was the vice-captain really on the field and always encouraging the guys," Willis told <i>Sky Sports</i>.

"He's got a terrific record as well. The likes of Alec Stewart and Alan Knott – great wicketkeeper-batsmen – didn't average as much as Prior. He made the most of his ability behind the stumps and scored vital runs for England down the order."

The uncapped Jos Buttler has been named as Prior's replacement. The hard-hitting right-hander has been a regular member of the Twenty20 International and ODI teams since August 2011's debut – and a move from Somerset to Lancashire has brought plenty of consistency in the County Championship this season.

"Prior has got to think positively. In his mind, all he's doing at the moment is counting himself out the next three Test matches. There's a long break before England play Test cricket again," added Willis.

"As soon as the fifth Test as The Oval finishes, England will be focused on ODI cricket and Prior hasn't been involved in that side for a long while now. If things don't go well for England, they might want Prior in the West Indies. It's a short series over a very concentrated time and they might need him in that touring party."

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