Thatscricket - News - Simon Jones ready to take on the Caribbeans

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2004, 16:16 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

London:Fast bowler Simon Jones insists he can still make it into England's squad for the West Indies despite over a year on the sidelines with injury.

The 25-year-old Glamorgan quickie was omitted from the England squad announced on Wednesday but told a place would be reserved for him provided he proved his fitness on the 'A' tour of India and Malaysia later this month.

Jones insisted he was fit again after 14 months out with a freak knee injury sustained while fielding during the Brisbane Test - just his second - against Australia in November 2002.

"I'm viewing this decision by the selectors as a positive and I'm looking forward to the challenge in India and showing that I'm fit for the Caribbean," Jones said.

"There is no bigger incentive for a fast bowler than having a West Indies tour dangled like a carrot in front of him."

England have not won a Test series in the Caribbean since 1968 when Jones's father Jeff, a left-arm pace bowler for Glamorgan, was in the team.

And 36 years on, Jones junior said he could not wait for the experience of playing in front of West Indian crowds.

"There is so much mystique surrounding West Indies tours for fast bowlers. My father Jeff has told me of his memories of his England tour in 1968 and the crowd really get behind fast bowlers from either side. I have worked hard for the last 14 months so I can't see why I can't continue to prove my fitness in India. It's there for the taking as far as I'm concerned," he added.

Jones, who is genuinely quick, has bowled in only three second XI games since his injury so it was unsurprising that England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney, refused to get carried away by his hopes.

"The reports we have had from the National Academy indicate that Simon Jones is making good progress in his recovery from a knee injury. Simon has been out of first class cricket for more than a year. We will be monitoring his form and fitness on the 'A' tour of India with a view to adding him to the Test squad," Graveney added.

Jones made a dramatic start to his debut Test against India at Lord's in 2002 with a run-a-ball 44 batting at No.10.

He looked more nervous when it came to his intial bowling stint but took two wickets in two overs to dismiss Ajay Ratra and Ajit Agarkar.

In the second innings he suffered with a side strain that was to keep him out of England action until that fateful match in Brisbane.

Jones is one of three England quicks with a fitness question-mark against their names.Stephen Harmison (back) missed the second half of England's pre-Christmas winter tour in Sri Lanka while James Anderson sat out the opening leg of the tour campaign in Bangladesh with a knee injury.

However, both Anderson and Harmison were included in the Test squad for the West Indies.

England are desperate to avoid a repeat of the injury roblems that blighted their 2002-03 tour of Australia.

As well as losing Jones to an unforseen injury, England also saw their gamble on Darren Gough backfire when, after hoping the fast bowler's knee problem would clear up on tour, the Yorkshire quick instead returned home without bowling a ball in anger.

England are due to play four Tests and seven One-day Internationals in the West Indies. The squad departs on February 25 with the first Test in Jamaica starting on March 11.

England wait on Jones for West Indies

Write Comments