Matt Prior has failed at the start of this campaign, but he has worked his way up over a number of seasons, and deserves his chance. Essentially, Prior should aim to be what we thought Geraint Jones would turn out to be: not a natural keeper, but one constantly improving; and a batsman good enough to average 35 over a significant period of time.
Prior has done disappointingly in 12 ODIs to date, but 11 of these were in the subcontinent batting inside the top three. Last summer, he averaged 46 and, for the second time in four years, played a vital part in a Sussex Championship triumph. In total, he averages very nearly 40 in first-class cricket and has already scored 12 hundreds. Considering the vast majority of these games have been in Division One and he is only 25, these stats are testament to his potential.
Prior is a reasonably brash personality, but clearly gets on very well with Peter Moores. Although James Foster, Jon Batty and especially Paul Nixon, amongst a multitude of candidates, will feel a little aggrieved, the indications are that the selectors believe Prior to have the most batting aptitude of all the candidates. Going batting over keeping, however, is an indication that England do not want to abandon their policy of playing Andrew Flintoff at six as part of a five-man attack.