Cricket - Prior urges England to stay focused

Vice-captain Matt Prior has warned England could get "burnt" by Australia if they allow the tourists' crisis-hit preparation for the Ashes to distract them.

PA Sport
Cricket - Prior urges England to stay focused

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Matt Prior is confident his England team-mates will not be lulled into complacency

Australia have been thrown into turmoil - two weeks before an Ashes ball has even been bowled - following the shock sacking of coach Mickey Arthur on Monday. Darren Lehmann has been tasked with picking up the pieces of a tour that has lurched between calamities since their arrival a month ago.

"Firstly we don't know what is going on in the Aussie camp, we don't know the details and we don't know the politics," Prior said. "Secondly it doesn't affect us at all. We don't want to get involved in that, we don't want to focus on them at all."

Australia's worst ever Champions Trophy campaign was punctuated by the suspension of opener David Warner until the first Test following his unprovoked attack on England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar.

With skipper Michael Clarke also only just returning from his long-standing back problem there is an increasing number of former players and pundits who have suggested a 5-0 whitewash is on the cards.

Prior is, however, having none of that and while he labelled the Warner-Root incident as "ridiculous" he is determined not to read any more into Australia's ills.

He added: "I think 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. 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."

Prior is confident his team-mates will not be lulled into complacency and give an Australian team - labelled as the worst in 30 years Down Under - the chance to land the first blow when the first Test starts at Trent Bridge on July 10.

Prior said the lessons of Ashes series past ensured that - pointing to the Headingley defeat four years ago that almost cost the series.

"In 2009 we go 1-0 up and we go to Headingley thinking we are one win away from winning the Ashes," he said. "Next thing we were all out for 120 and beaten in three days. That was a great example of taking your eye of the ball for one second and getting burnt."

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