England wicketkeeper lifts the lid on where the side’s horror Ashes tour went wrong.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has laid the blame for a 5-0 Ashes thumping in Australia on the team letting their standards slip.
In his column for Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper Prior — dropped following the third Test in Perth after poor displays with both gloves and bat — said players had shown a lack of respect for both captain Alastair Cook and coach Andy Flower.
The 31-year-old Sussex wicketkeeper-batsman said seemingly minor issues such as being late for team meetings and not wearing the correct kit were symptomatic of deeper problems, even allowing for the fact Australia played by far the better cricket during the series.
“There are obvious straightforward cricketing reasons why we lost the Ashes in Australia but when assessing this defeat you have to look deeper,” Prior wrote.
“It all goes back to the dressing room and making sure that environment is right and on this tour I think we let it slip a bit.
“We let a few things slide. They appear trivial issues to those on the outside but they are important when building a team environment.
“Little things like wearing the right kit, turning up to meetings on time, not five minutes late. It is about the respect you have for your team-mates, coach and captain.”
Amid recent reports of a near-total breakdown in the relationship between Flower and star batsman Kevin Pietersen, Prior backed the existing management team — including batting coach Graham Gooch — to oversee a reversal in England’s fortunes.
Meanwhile Prior, for so long one of the pillars of the England Test side, was severely self-critical of his own performance in Australia, particularly when he missed the chance to stump David Warner off struggling off-spinner Graeme Swann in Perth, an error that allowed the opener to score a hundred.
“My keeping had been outstanding until that terrible moment,” he said. “It was as bad a moment as I have ever experienced on a cricket pitch.
“I stood there knowing that Swanny was struggling a little bit and I had let him down.”