Matt Prior, the Johannesburg-born England wicketkeeper, has formally retired from all forms of professional cricket due to injury.
He left South Africa at an early age and played for England throughout the age groups until making his Test debut in 2007.
One of the most prolific wicketkeeper-batsmen in the history of the international game, Prior played the last of his 79 Tests for England against India at Lord’s last year having accumulated 4,099 Test runs and 256 Test dismissals. He took a break to overcome an Achilles problem, but had finally decided that his time had come.
‘I had been hoping and expecting to be fit for the start of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, this has proved impossible, and I have now had to reach this decision,’ he said. ‘I have always tried to play with pride and passion and have a deep belief that the team will always come first. A value that will never leave me whatever I go on to do. Although I haven’t achieved all the goals I had set out to, I feel immensely proud of what I have done in my career.’
His final months with the England team, though, will be remembered for the running battle he had with Kevin Pietersen, who was brutal in his assessment of the veteran keeper in his autobiography.
‘I’m the one who’s always been labelled as the uncontrollable individualist, the ego maniac, the arrogant, flash, materialistic South African,’ Pietersen wrote. ‘But when I close my eyes in the dressing room I can’t help wondering why. Every tour I hear Prior getting louder and louder. Pump up the volume. Pump up the volume.
‘The Big Cheese had matured and grown too large for his little box.’
His career tally with the gloves leaves him behind only Alan Knott in the list of England wicket-keepers in Test cricket, ninth in the all-time world list, and he also claimed a further 88 dismissals in one-day and T20 international cricket.