Cricket World Cup: Prior replaces Davies for England
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Hosts: India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Dates: 19 February to 2 April Coverage: Live Test Match Special commentary (on BBC 5 live sports extra and BBC Sport website) and live text commentary on all England matches and other major games; also live on Sky Sports
Prior (left) will take the place of Davies (right) as wicketkeeper and batsman
Matt Prior has surprisingly replaced wicketkeeper Steven Davies in the 15-man squad named by England for the World Cup in the Asian subcontinent.
Sussex's Prior is set to partner skipper Andrew Strauss at the top of the batting order and will now join the current one-day squad in Australia.
All-rounder Stuart Broad returns from injury while Kent bowler James Tredwell has been selected as a third spinner.
Seamer Chris Woakes misses out despite shining on his recent Twenty20 debut.
Along with Davies, Ashes winner Chris Tremlett was the one other member of the touring squad to be overlooked, and England will thus rely on four specialist seam bowlers in the tournament which begins in February.
With Surrey's Davies, who made 42 from 35 balls in the opening match of the current series in Melbourne on Sunday, behind the stumps for the past six one-day internationals, Prior's inclusion - after 10 months out of the ODI team - came as a major surprise.
Prior has a modest record in one-day internationals, with a return of 1,066 runs from 50 innings at an average of 25.38, having been tried in a variety of positions in the order.
Davies has collected 244 runs from seven ODIs at 34.85, and has already matched Prior's best score of 87.
"It was a tough decision," admitted England team director Andy Flower. "Steve Davies was picked in our last one-day series, and he did OK against Pakistan.
"We picked him for this series in Australia because of the conditions out here, but as we get closer to the World Cup we've made that adjustment and we want Prior to get a few games under his belt before we get out there."
Prior, who had remained in Australia after the Ashes Tests to play in the domestic Twenty20 competition for Victoria, will now take his place for Friday's match in Hobart.
It is a triumph for the 28-year-old, the regular Test keeper for over two years, whose case was strengthened by innings of 85 and 118 in his last two Test innings.
Flower believes that after an influential Ashes series with the bat and gloves, Prior will thrive at the World Cup.
"We believe that Matt Prior is best suited to the sub-continent conditions - that's why we've picked him," he said.
"The circumstances have changed. Matt Prior did very well out here in the Test matches. He is a combative, aggressive cricketer. He fits our aggressive fielding unit so those are the reasons why he has been picked for the World Cup."
Unlike Australia, who named both Brad Haddin and Tim Paine in their final squad, England only have one specialist keeper in the squad.
Batsman Eoin Morgan - who kept wicket in two Champions Trophy games in September 2009 after Prior was injured - is likely to be England's emergency keeper should injury befall Prior again.
The selection of Sussex all-rounder Wright is another debatable topic, though with Ravi Bopara not picked for any part of the Australia tour, it was inevitable.
Surrey supporters coping with the omission of Davies would also have been disappointed with the absence of Tremlett, though Flower had already offered words of encouragement for the big paceman.
"If he develops a few more tricks, Chris will be a super one-day bowler," he said before the squad was announced. "But we can only take so many bowlers to the World Cup."
The World Cup begins on 19 February when two of the co-hosts India and Bangladesh meet in Dhaka, with England's first match against the Netherlands in Nagpur on the 22nd.
England national selector Geoff Miller said: "We have several batsmen and pace bowlers that have been successful on the ODI stage while offering an encouraging blend of conventional and innovative approaches."
England's World Cup squad:
Andrew Strauss (Middlesex, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Matt Prior (Sussex, wk), Ajmal Shahzad (Yorkshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Luke Wright (Sussex), Michael Yardy (Sussex).
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