England wicketkeeper Matt Prior said on Thursday that it is important for his team to not lose focus from the task at hand ahead of the upcoming Ashes series.
Prior said England are not concentrating on what’s going on in the Australian camp, where Darren Lehmann has replaced Mickey Arthur as the head coach and skipper Michael Clarke has stepped down from the selection panel.
“Firstly we don’t know what’s going on in the Aussie camp, we don’t know the details and we don’t know the politics. Secondly, it doesn’t affect us at all,” Prior was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“One of the toughest things about the Ashes is that there are so many things going on off the pitch and away from your team that it can pull you away from concentrating on your own things if you’re not careful. The important thing is that we focus on what we want to do going into that first Test match and our preparation in the Essex game and making sure our skills and team ethos is spot on. If you take your eye off your own team for one minute it can bite you very quickly, so that is where we’ll be focusing.
“I’ll give you an example. In 2009 we go 1-0 up and we go to Headingly thinking we are one win away from winning the Ashes. Next thing we were all out 120 and beaten in three days. That was a great example of taking your eye off the ball for one second and getting burnt.”
“There were a few of the guys that were involved in that performance who will know that and the risks of getting your focus wrong. As much as you want to look at other things you dare not do it. If you do and allow yourself to focus on the wrong things you put yourself at risk of coming unstuck.”
“That is one of the challenges that a player involved in the Ashes must avoid – getting drawn into the wrong things. I genuinely wouldn’t want to worry about what is going wrong with Australia because I want to make sure on a personal note I get it right this Ashes series and as a team we perform well and hopefully win the series.”
“We want to concentrate on stuff on the pitch and do our talking there. We’ll quietly go about our business and hopefully win. That’s going to hurt the Aussies more than anything else.”
Prior further said that the motivation ahead of an Ashes series comes naturally.
“The whole country gets behind you. It’s an Ashes series. It shouldn’t take too much to get you motivated. Every time we play Australia, with whatever has gone on before, you want to win and you want to win well,” he concluded.