LONDON: Ahead of the four-match Test series, former England cricketer Matt Prior has said playing in India and that too in the longest format of the game can be mentally draining for the wicket-keepers.
India and England are set to lock horns in four Tests, three ODIs, and five T20Is. The first two games of the Test series will be played in Chennai before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Test.
Prior, who is a former wicket-keeper batsman, said the players need to prepare for the tough tour in a “very humid” environment.
“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. It’s obviously very hot and very humid, so there’s a huge physical drain that you have to be prepared for,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Prior as saying.
“And then mentally it’s very draining. For players who have grown up in England, you’re used to the ball swinging and seaming, and leaving on the length and in the channel,” he further said.
“But your whole game plan has to change, whether that’s for batsmen, bowlers, wicketkeepers, or even fielders, who have to think more about what they’re doing with the ball so that they can get it to reverse,” Prior added.
In 2012, England won the Test series for the first time in 28 years in India. Prior said coming to play in India and then winning is a real privilege. The former wicket-keeper batsman also recalled one of the instances during the tour of India where he fell asleep before taking his kit off after the match.
“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,” Prior said.
“That’s why you do it, and that’s what made it such a good victory. It is so mentally and physically draining to get a result out there. To go there and be successful is a real privilege [so] it was a very proud moment in all of our careers,” he further said.
“It’s certainly right up there. The Ashes gets 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 added.
The first Test between India and England will be played from Friday while the second is slated to begin on February 13.