Ashes 2010: Simon Jones Shoulda Woulda Coulda

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92 Days Until The Ashes…

There are so many cricketers out there who haven’t realised their full potential on the world stage despite having more talent in their little finger than most have in our entire bodies. This can happen for a number of reasons, be it illness, injury, selection troubles, personality clashes or all of the above. Either way, I like to call them my “Shoulda Woulda Coulda cricketers”. Sadly the England pace bowler Simon Jones, through no fault of his own, belongs to this group. And who can forget how good he was in the 2005 Ashes series?

Let’s start at the beginning…

The Start of Simon Jones’ International Career – Ashes 2002/3

When Simon Jones made the journey down under in 2002/3 he was billed as the next big thing in a bowling lineup that lacked true superstars. In his first test in Brisbane he bowled only 7 overs and dismissed Justin Langer with his ninth delivery. Then what can only be described as a horrific injury followed in which Jones slid to field a ball only to twist his knee in the turf and rupture his cruciate ligaments in his knee. It wasn’t until 2004 he would feature in an England shirt once more.

The Defining Moment – Ashes 2005

It is easily argued that the difference between the two sides in the 2005 Ashes series was the mastery of reverse swing by the England camp. And the two chief architects were Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones. Just how much of an impressive feat some of the bowling was is epitomised in Simon Jone’s dismissal of Michael Clarke at Old Trafford. The angle of the ball looked for all the money in the world to be angling further and further towards the slips only for the ball to reverse swing inwards viciously to take the off peg out the ground. Simon Jones would go on to record match figures of 7-110.

Simon Jones went on to claim 18 wickets at an average of 21 in the four tests before being ruled out of the fifth through [surprise,surprise] injury. Despite much of the plaudits for England’s sensational 2-1 victory in 2005 – incidentally this writer’s favourite ever series of cricket – going the way of the man of the series Andrew Flintoff, it shouldn’t be forgotten the pivotal role Simon Jones played in the series. He bowled with aggression, control and on so many occasions was the vital partnership breaker.

During what would become to be known his defining moment Simon Jones was a handful for any batsmen in world cricket. A skiddy action at pace thanks to an explosion into the delivery stride left batsmen extremely fearful. All these attributes considered, it’s hardly surprising that in 2006 he was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year.

Sadly Jone’s time at the top of world cricket would be short-lived…

Subsequent Injuries Ensure Jones is a Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Since the jubilant summer of 2005 Simon Jones has injured his ankle, knee and neck and has required multiple bouts of surgery. He’s had brief comebacks where he’s demonstrated just how good he still is – he claimed career best figures of 5 for 32 from 10 overs for Worcestershire against Hampshire at 90mph+ in 2008. He now plies his trade with Hampshire but hasn’t played a great deal of cricket of late.

I personally would absolutely love to see Simon Jones get a full season of county cricket under his belt next time around. I just wish he was lining up in an England shirt come November 25th bowling like he did in 2005!

Where Next? Choose from the Latest Cricket Stories…

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