Former England wicket-keeper batsman Matt Prior has said that winning a Test series in India is a “bigger and tougher” task than winning the Ashes on Australian soil. The Ashes is arguably the greatest cricket rivalry – between England and Australia – but with India cementing their place as one of the greatest teams on home soil, there is a momentum shift in the cricketing world.
“It’s certainly right up there. The Ashes get all the publicity and everything that goes with it but India is an equally tough – if not tougher – place to go and win a series. It might even pip it for me: we won in Australia [in 2010-11] for the first time in 25 years but we won in India for the first time in 28,” Prior told ESPNCricinfo.
Prior has played a few Test matches against India and was part of the historic England squad that scripted history in 2012 by defeating India in the Test series – a feat achieved by the English team after a staggering 28 years. It remains India’s last home Test series defeat.
Prior recalled playing Test matches on Indian soil as he said that getting a result in India is mentally and physically draining and being successful there is a “very proud moment” in his career.
“I remember coming in, taking my kit off, and before I knew it, I was asleep. I was just so drained from the whole experience. That’s why you do it, and that’s what made it such a good victory (in 2012). It is so mentally and physically draining to get a result out there (in India). To go there and be successful is a real privilege [so] it was a very proud moment in all of our careers,” he added.
Prior, regarded as one of the finest English glovesman to have played the game, touched upon the technical challenges that come while playing in India. The 38-year-old said that on Indian conditions, batsmen, bowlers, wicket-keepers and even fielders have to change their game-pan in a bid to challenge the dominating Indian side.
“Playing Test cricket in India is about attrition. From a wicket-keeping perspective, in the first over of the day, with Jimmy Anderson bowling in the high-80s [mph/140kph], I was standing literally four yards back.
“For players who have grown up in England, you’re used to the ball swinging and seaming, and leaving on length and in the channel, but your whole game-plan has to change, whether that’s for batsmen, bowlers, wicketkeepers, or even fielders,” he explained.
India’s four-Test series against England commences from February 5 and will be followed by five T20Is and three ODIs.