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Injury forces Prior to call it a day

By David Clough

Matt Prior has retired from all professional cricket at the age of 33, because of injury.

The ex-England wicketkeeper failed to recover full fitness after undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon at the end of last summer and has called time on his career.

Prior played the last of his 79 Tests against India at Lord's 11 months ago, before announcing then he would need an extended break because of his heel problem.

He had hoped to return for the start of this season, but has reluctantly had to decide instead there will be no comeback.

Prior, a member of three Ashes-winning teams, hit seven Test centuries and was a renowned counter-attacking force in the England team which rose to number one in the International Cricket Council rankings four years ago.

He said: "Today is a very sad day for me, as I am forced to announce my retirement from the game I love.

"I had been hoping and expecting to be fit for the start of the 2015 season.

"Unfortunately, this has proved impossible, and I have now had to reach this decision."

Prior marked his Test debut at Lord's against the West Indies in May 2007 with a maiden century - called up at the start of Peter Moores' first tenure as England coach. He had enjoyed previous success with Moores when Sussex won the county championship for the first time in their history in 2003 and then took the title again three years later.

He added: "I feel honoured to have played for Sussex and England as many times as I have, and shared so many great times with both teams.

"I also feel privileged to have been involved in an era of such success for English cricket."

"I would like to thank my family, team-mates, coaches and the people behind the scenes that have supported me throughout the years," he said in an England and Wales Cricket Board press release.

"I have always tried to play with pride and passion, and have a deep belief that the team will always come first - a value that will never leave me whatever I go on to do.

"I feel immensely proud of what I have done in my career. Sadly it is now time to move on."

Strauss, in his new guise as the ECB's director of cricket, paid tribute to his former team-mate.

He said: "It is a huge shame that his career has come to an end in this way, although his athletic wicket-keeping and counter-attacking batting will live long in the memories of both his team-mates and England supporters."

Prior made more than 4,000 Test runs, and was responsible for 256 dismissals behind the stumps - second only to Alan Knott for England and ninth in the all-time list worldwide.

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