Ashes hero Matt Prior believes his former England team-mates will relish being the underdogs as the most fiercely-contested rivalry in sport got underway this week.
It’s an Ashes summer and our boys will ‘welcome’ their Australian counterparts to once again do battle across the country in the five Tests.
The first started in Cardiff on Wednesday on the back of a humiliating whitewash in the last series Down Under and what has been a difficult year for English cricket.
Former Sussex and England wicketkeeper Prior, who lives in West Chilt and signed for Billingshurst at the start of year, although falling short of making a prediction, believes, they are well placed to recapture the famous urn.
The three-time Ashes winner said: “I don’t do predictions, I am not Australian. Look, there is no doubt the Aussies are favourites, but certainly when I was in the England dressing room that’s when we played our best cricket.
“When we were the underdogs and no-one expected anything from us, that is when we played well. I think England have done well, they have gone away and got out of the bubble which has been great for them.
“They can come into this really fresh. I think the influence from the New Zealand series as well has come at a perfect time and given those guys a lot on confidence in not just their own abilities, but how they are going to play as a team.”
Having retired from the game last month, Prior admits there is a wrench seeing the team take to the field, but has kept involved where he can.
He said: “Any time England play cricket, for five or however many years it was, whenever England took to the field I wanted to be the guy with the gloves on.
“That has changed now but anyone here with the opportunity to play in the Ashes, would want to play in the Ashes, that doesn’t change does it? It’s a dream and that doesn’t change, but it’s been great for me.
“I have had a couple of session with Jos Butler and working with him, I have got very good mates in that team so I still feel quite close to it still, even though I am not the one walking out there.”
On the past and future, the former Brighton College student added: “Sussex has been a massive part of my life and now I am at a stage in my life - I was going to say career, but that’s over now - but it has been in my life and I wanted to give back to the county, the cricket club and supporters that have given me such great support over so many years.”
“It’s not be easy of course not, but I have been very fortunate that I have got some great ventures that I am going into with One Pro Cycling and I am doing a bit of media stuff that I am really enjoying.
“I take it on now that this is a new challenge. There are two ways you can look at it, one is get really sad and down on yourself that your cricket days have ended or you can look it as a really positive thing.
“That 15 years was fantastic and I absolutely loved it, but who knows what the next 15 years can bring and that’s what I am excited about.”