Cricket: Is It Time to Herald The Return Of Simon Jones?
With the memories of Summer 2005 and Winter of 2006/07 very much in the distance now, England players and selectors are looking towards the next Ashes series: England in 2009.
After horrific injuries, it is with trepidation that anyone mentions the name Simon Jones for fear of somehow breaking his ankle as soon as they discuss anything to do with full fitness.
But it is hard to ignore the Welshman's searing pace, a factor of his game that has been under discussion for some time now. In 2005 he had been bowling consistently over 90mph and he is looking like he could be on the verge of reaching that same pace once again.
It was his spells in the Friend's Provident Trophy, bowling for Worcestershire against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, that really caught people's eye. His first spell averaged just under 90mph, while a hat-trick ball he bowled hit 91mph. The current stock of England quicks would struggle to hit that kind of pace the way Jones did, even at full fitness.
But the question over who he would replace remains they key issue under debate here.
There is no question over Ryan Sidebottom staying in the side, as someone named as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year isn't going to be dropped from the national squad any time soon even if he under-performed at Old Trafford.
Equally, Stuart Broad seems to be in the selector's good books. They have faith that he will speed up, plus he has an incredibly good cricketing brain and can also wield the willow expertly for a number 8.
So they only logical choice seems to be James Anderson. Not only is he the only one not taking enough wickets, especially considering his levels of experience, but he even managed to under-perform at his home ground against New Zealand.
It certainly seems that Jones could slot into the team. Perhaps the England selectors should take a chance with him when they decide the squad for the ODI series against New Zealand. If they throw him a bone he will almost certainly put his utmost into his Cricket to retain his place.
Although looking a little stockier than in 2005 and now walking with a slight limp, could Simon Jones be an Ashes hero once again?
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