London: Matt Prior was named the England cricketer-of-the-year for 2012/13, in an acknowledgement of the Sussex wicket-keeper's consistency with both bat and gloves.
The 31-year-old is now one of the first names on the team sheet after England captain Alastair Cook and the latest demonstration of his worth to the side came with his match-saving unbeaten hundred in the drawn third Test against New Zealand in Auckland in March.
Prior was presented with his award at Lord's on Monday. where the first of a return two-Test series against New Zealand starts on Thursday.
"It was fantastic when I found out, a huge honour to be singled out as player of the year," said Prior, the first wicket-keeper to win the award. "I feel slightly uncomfortable with it, because individual accolades are not really the reason I play.
"I want this team to win. I get much more out of the group winning a Test or series," he added ahead of a season where England will defend the Ashes against Australia.
"I think it's very easy to look back and think 'that was a great year' and pat yourself on the back," said Prior. "That's certainly not something I'll be doing.
"Yes, it was a great year - and I'll take a huge amount of confidence from it.
"But you've got to knuckle down and look to improve.
"It's back to the drawing board now, and it all starts again."
Story first published on: Tuesday, 14 May 2013 09:18 IST