A Good News Story (At Last)

January 26, 2011

Simon Jones (Courtesy of Getty)

Of course, it’s perfectly understandable.

Keys and Gray have obviously been the big story for the last few days, it natural that you may well have missed one of the most intriguing comebacks in English sport.

Cast your mind back my friend to the balmy summer of 2005 and “The Greatest Ashes Series Ever”, while we all cooed over the performances of Andrew Flintoff, it was actually the then Glamorgan swinger, Simon Jones, who was impressing the cricket aficionados with his exquisite brand of reverse swing bowling.  What’s often forgotten in the aftermath of that series and the “Freddie-Mania” that ensued is that Jones could well have ended the series as England’s leading wicket taker if he hadn’t missed the final test at the Oval.

And then what?

Well, Jones found himself injured; it started with his ankle which he damaged in the second innings at Trent Bridge. He injured his ankle again in the nets just before the first test on the India tour in 2006. He had surgery on his knees in Colorado that ruled him out of the Ashes tour in 2006/7 (a result of the horrific cruciate ligament injury he sustained in Brisbane in 2002) and just as he seemed to be getting himself back together he suffered another knee injury. Indeed, it seemed like there was no cricketer more cursed than Simon Jones.

Of course, time has moved on, the much vaunted English bowling attack of 2005 eventually retired, lost form or dropped out of favour. Ashley Giles (The Spinner) became Director of Coaching at Warwickshire. Andrew Flintoff left the sport after the Ashes series of 2009 to become a celebrity. Matthew Hoggard quietly dropped out of favour and hasn’t played for England since 2008 and Steve Harmison has flirted with the England squad, making cameo appearances here and there, but has surely played his last test for England.

This leaves Simon Jones, well, let me inform you that Jones is still playing and playing phenomenally well for Hampshire. Indeed, in one recent 20/20 match for Hampshire he took four for 10 in four overs. This bodes well for the England team, Jones was easily as good a swinger of the ball as a prime Waqar Younis and he could have been one of England’s great quicks, if it hadn’t been for his rotten injury luck.

It’s doubtful that the now 32 years old Jones would last a full test match, it doesn’t even seem that the England team need him, with an established bowling attack of Swann, Bresnan, Tremlett, Broad and Anderson, but with the punishing schedule ahead (The World Cup looms large), could we see Jones making a dramatic comeback by filling one of the one day slots?

Maybe…I hope so!

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