Prior is set to end his international hiatus when England open their two-Test series against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on Thursday after being recalled by coach Peter Moores and captain Alastair Cook.
The 32-year-old, who has also struggled with an Achilles injury, has not played for England since they were whitewashed 5-0 in the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia.
In his column for UK newspaper the Telegraph , Warne said England had made a mistake overlooking Jos Buttler, who smashed 121 runs against Sri Lanka in the fifth and final one-day international at Lord’s in May.
“I find it really surprising they have gone back to Matt Prior,” the 44-year-old said.
“When you are restructuring the team why pick Prior and not Jos Buttler? He has just shown how dangerous he is with the bat with a brilliant one-day hundred so stick with him while he is on a roll.
“Going back to Prior I really believe is a backward step. This is the time for new beginnings.
“If you are going to rebuild the team then the keeper is vital because he sets the tone and standards in the field. England dropped him for a reason. He was not doing the job properly. He has only kept in one first-class match before this Test.
“I hope this is not a teacher’s, or should I say coach’s pet selection.”
Warne added: “I think that it is a Moores call, the old Sussex connection with Prior.
“I think it is, as I said, a teacher’s pet selection and Buttler has been hard done by.”
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