Ashes 2013-14: Alastair Cook omission a precaution – Matt Prior

Ashes 2013-14: Matt Prior says Alastair Cook's omission from the England side for their tour opener is "purely precautionary"

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England captain Alastair Cook The Sport Review

Matt Prior says England are trying to protect Alastair Cook’s fitness after his omission from the Ashes tour opener against the Western Australia Chairman’s XI.

The 28-year-old captain, who skippered his side to Ashes victory in the summer series, is suffering from a sore back after a long-haul flight to Australia earlier this week.

As a result, Cook won’t play a part in the opening tour match starting on Thursday, but Prior expects the batsman to make a swift recovery for the warm-up game against Australia A, which begins on 6 November.

“Him missing this game is purely precautionary, so I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t play the next one,” Prior said.

Prior believes the presence of Ashes debutants Michael Carberry, Gary Balance, Ben Stokes and Boyd Rankin has renewed the friendly competition in the England squad.

“Nets have been good fun at the moment with the big guys steaming in, all playing for their place – the batters have been hopping around a little bit,” he said.

“It’s great to have competition in a team and in a squad; I think that’s very healthy. It’s not just in the bowlers, it’s batters, all-rounders, throughout the team there’s a huge amount of competition.

“Everybody’s pushing each other very hard and that gets the best out of the final XI chosen.”

England XI to face a Western Australia Chairman’s XI: Joe Root, Michael Carberry, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Matt Prior, Boyd Rankin, Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn, James Anderson.

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