Matt Prior: England wicketkeeper retires from cricket

Matt Prior (right) with Alastair Cook
In 2013, England sealed a third successive Ashes win for the first time since 1981

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The 33-year-old, who won 79 Test caps, helped England to three Ashes series victories between 2009 and 2013.

The Sussex keeper has not played any cricket since July 2014 because of a recurring Achilles tendon injury.

"I was expecting to be fit for the 2015 season," Prior said. "Unfortunately, this has proved impossible, and I have now had to reach this decision."

He added: "I feel honoured to have played for Sussex and England as many times as I have and shared so many great times with both teams. I also feel privileged to have been involved in an era of such success for English cricket.

"I have always tried to play with pride and passion and have a deep belief that the team will always come first. 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. Sadly it is now time to move on."

Prior became the first England wicketkeeper to score a century on debut, hitting an unbeaten 126 at Lord's against West Indies in 2007.

He leaves the game with a Test batting average of 40.18, the highest of any England wicketkeeper to claim more than 100 dismissals and the fourth best of all-time behind only Kumar Sangakkara, Andy Flower and Adam Gilchrist.

Matt Prior
Prior played his last Test for England against India at Lord's in July 2013

The South African-born right-hander was named England's player of the year in 2013 after saving the final Test and series against New Zealand by batting for four-and-a-half hours on his way to an unbeaten century.

By that time, he had been appointed vice-captain and attempted to win a fourth Ashes series in Australia in 2013-14.

But his form dipped - he made only one fifty in eight Tests - and was dropped for the final two Tests of the 5-0 whitewash in Australia.

Despite his bludgeoning batting style, Prior could not replicate his Test form in one-day internationals, averaging 24.18 runs in 68 matches.

In December 2014, he co-founded the new professional One Pro Cycling team, saying cycling was a "huge passion".

Career highlights

Born in Johannesburg, Prior moved to England at the age of 11 and represented England at all ages, up to and including Under-19s

The wicketkeeper made his debut for Sussex - the only county he represented - in 2001. During his time at Hove, Sussex won three County Championships, three domestic one-day titles and the Twenty20 Cup.

In November 2004 he was selected to tour Zimbabwe with England's one-day squad.

On the 2010-11 tour of Australia, he claimed 23 catches in the series, including an Ashes-record-equalling six in the first innings at Melbourne.

He made 271 runs at a 67.75 average during England's 4-0 series win against India in 2011.

Tributes

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who criticised Prior in his autobiography: "We may have had our differences, but I'd like to wish Matt Prior all the best for his future... we did play some v good cricket together!"

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Prior deserves plaudits - Robinson

Former England women's captain Clare Connor: "Be very proud Matt Prior - you've played professional cricket with the same huge smile, heart & soul as when I first met you aged 10!"

Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson told BBC Sussex: "He stands up as one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen, in terms of his own personal stats and what he won. Matt finished international cricket and was going to play for us for a bit, so you feel a bit cheated. He still wants to be a part of the club, which is great news for us."

England batsman Ian Bell: "Congrats Matt Prior on a great career. Was a pleasure playing with you bud. Wish you all the best in the future endeavours!"

Prior's former teammate, Stuart Broad, told BBC Radio 5 live's In Short programme that he was "the heartbeat of the fielding team."

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