Matt Prior awarded benefit season with Sussex

SUSSEX County Cricket Club have announced that their England wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior will be awarded a benefit season in 2012.

Prior, 29, follows in the footsteps of club coach Mark Davis who has enjoyed a testimonial season this year.

Former Brighton College student Prior, made his first-class debut for Sussex in 2001 and among his highlights in the early years of his professional career was a crucial 148 he made against Middlesex in 2003, in a victory which played a large part in Sussex winning their first ever Championship in 164 years of existence that season.

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He made his one-day international debut for England in 2004 against Zimbabwe, and his test match debut came in 2007 against the West Indies at Lord’s when he became the first English wicketkeeper to hit a century on debut with an unbeaten 126.

One of the key members of both England’s recent Ashes triumphs in 2009 and 2010/11, he is approaching 200 first-class matches, including his 47 Test appearances, having made over 10,000 first-class runs. He has also played 68 one-day internationals, 10 Twenty20 internationals.

Prior said: “Sussex is of course a very special place and I am honoured to be awarded a benefit year for 2012. I feel privileged to have been able to enjoy, and be a part of, the major success over the past few years.

“I look forward to being involved with the county for many years to come, and with the benefit season a landmark year for my career, I am hoping 2012 will be a great year.”

Sussex chairman Jim May said: “It has been really exciting to see the way Matt has developed as a young player to him then playing a part in the most successful side in Sussex’s history, winning the Championship for the first time in 2003.

“He has then gone on to become the world’s best wicketkeeper-batsman in officially the world’s best test side, and this is testament to the hard work, dedication and ability which has taken him on this journey.

“We’re very pleased that he is the club’s beneficiary in 2012 and I wish him every success with the benefit year and his future career”.