Simon Jonesindia Updated: Oct 23, 2006 17:01 IST
A strapping and skiddy fast bowler, Simon Jones fought back from a grievous career-threatening knee injury to become an integral member of England's triumphant Ashes-winning team in 2005. Jones's pace and mastery of reverse-swing carried him to 18 wickets at 21 in four Tests, before he was forced to sit out a nervy final match due to an ankle problem.
If he was frustrated not to be involved right to the bitter end of the campaign, then he did at least have his experiences of 2002-03 to console him. Selected as England's great white hope for that winter's Ashes campaign, his tour ended abruptly on the opening day of the series at Brisbane, when he slid to prevent a boundary and ruptured a cruciate ligament in his right knee.
But he fought back courageously after a six-month lay-off, aided by the memories of the taunts he had received while laying stricken on the outfield, and by March 2004, he was back to a good pace and preparing himself for a tour of the Caribbean. He played in all four Tests, and helped England to a series win with 15 wickets, but he was very much the fourth member of the attack, forever fighting to hold off the challenge from James Anderson. All that began to change at Port Elizabeth in 2004-05, when his inspired fourth-day spell - and a rare diving catch at fine leg - secured a notable victory over South Africa.
By the start of the 2005 season, he had regained the yard of pace he had mislaided after his injury, and added a new and mysterious extra element as well - reverse-swing. The bamboozling inswinger with which he plucked Michael Clarke's off stump at Old Trafford was one of the images of the summer, as was his part in the matchturning 51-run stand for the tenth wicket with Andrew Flintoff at Edgbaston. His father, Jeff, played 15 Tests for England as a feisty left-arm seamer in the 1960s.
First Published: Feb 15, 2006 18:04 IST