KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Wicket-keeper Matt Prior has been picked ahead of Steven Davies in England’s otherwise settled 15-man ICC World Cup squad.
Prior joins the current squad for the remaining six One Day Internationals against Australia - with the next to played in Hobart on Friday.
As expected Stuart Broad returns to the World Cup squad after recovering from the injury which kept him out of the three final Ashes Tests.
Kent’s James Tredwell also keeps his place as back-up to first-choice spinners Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy for the tournament, which gets underway on Saturday 19 February.
Prior over Davies
Test regular Prior played the last of his 55 ODIs against Bangladesh in May 2010.
He lost his place to ICC World Twenty20 winner Craig Kieswetter before Davies took the gloves for the series against Pakistan at the end of the season.
Davies impressed enough to keep his place in the squad for the seven match series Down Under and was Prior’s understudy during the Ashes.
However, England have chosen to recall the in-form wicket-keeper, who made a century in the fifth Ashes Test victory in Sydney earlier this month.
The 28-year-old Prior has continued his excellent whilst playing for Victoria in the Australian domestic Twenty20 'Big Bash'.
He has a disappointing ODI record though, averaging 25.38 with just two half centuries compared from 55 matches, compared to impressive Test stats of four centuries and an average of 42.96 from 40 Tests.
The main issue for England now surrounds finding an opening batsman to replace Davies and partner skipper Andrew Strauss.
Prior has filled the role on 28 occasions, averaging 25.08 at a scoring rate of 75.81 runs per 100 balls.
However, England may be tempted to try Ian Bell at the top of the order ahead of their opening group match against the Netherlands in Nagpur on Tuesday 22 February.
Bell has been in pristine form all winter and opened in both T20 Internationals Down Under, making scores of 27 and 39.
Jonathan Trott has also opened in the past, though he is likely to remain at number three.
With the World Cup to be played on the sluggish tracks of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, England have unsurprisingly opted for three spinners and just four seamers.
Ajmal Shahzad squeezes in ahead of Chris Tremlett as support for James Anderson, Tim Bresnan and Broad.
Tremlett is the only other member of the current ODI squad - alongside Davies - to miss out on selection.
The 6’8" Surrey quick was hugely impressive after replacing Broad in the Ashes side and earned a late call-up to the limited overs side.
But his bowling is likely to be less effective on the low decks and England have unsurprisingly opted for Yorkshire swing pair Bresnan and Shahzad.
England squad: Strauss *, Anderson, Bell, Bresnan, Broad, Collingwood, Morgan, Pietersen, Prior †, Shahzad, Swann, Tredwell, Trott, Wright, Yardy.
* denotes captain
† denotes wicket-keeper