Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stage Finally Set for Jones to Show Worth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stage Finally Set for Jones to Show Worth

Article excerpt


ENGLAND are ready to unleash Simon Jones and hot up the competition for fast-bowling places in the Caribbean.

Jones watched the second and third days of the draw with Jamaica, having arrived here on Monday following medical assurances that his shin injury was nothing serious.

Now the Glamorgan paceman has England's second and final warmup match in which to present a case for inclusion in next week's opening Test back at Sabina Park.

Michael Vaughan and his players tackle a strong-looking invitation side containing a couple of Kenyan internationals and some ambitious West Indian youngsters over the next three days. The match, starting tomorrow, will be played on a university ground. Fitting, because the key question for England to answer is who should graduate into their Test attack.

Steve Harmison, James Anderson and Matthew Hoggard all put forward reasonable, though not compelling, arguments for selection during the Jamaica game.

Now Jones awaits his chance, not only to pitch for a place against the West Indies but also to remind England and their supporters what an exciting prospect he seemed before sustaining that appalling knee injury in Australia 16 months ago.

"I think Simon has thrown his hat into the ring," said Troy Cooley, England's Australian bowling coach, who was with Jones in India last month when the 25-year-old took 10 wickets in one A-team match.

The selectors quickly promoted Jones to the senior squad, then had to worry with him for a couple of days when his shin problem emerged. But a series of scans and X-rays at Loughborough put minds at rest.

"He's bowled in the nets here and it's looking good," added Cooley.

"He'll go into tomorrow's game and how he comes out of that will decide whether he puts his name up for selection for the First Test."

England have already decided that Mark Butcher has no chance of playing tomorrow. …

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