Simon Jones – You have to earn it
Simon Jones was born in Swansea, Wales and represented England in international cricket and Glamorgan, Worcestershire and Hampshire in domestic cricket. Simon was instrumental in the 2005 Ashes campaign, terrorising Australian batsmen and in the process taking a number of match winning 5 wicket hauls to propel England to victory.
- England Cricket International – Test and ODI
- Ashes Winner (2005)
- MBE for Services to Cricket (2005)
- Tests – 59 wickets at 28.23
- Ashes (2005) – 18 wickets
You have to earn it – Simon Jones on making it to the top
Ashes winner Simon Jones emphasises that to earn your space at the top of cricket, you have to put in the hours, go through the stages, and do more than just dream.
The 43-year-old, who played an instrumental role in England’s historic Ashes win in 2005 emphasises the importance of the steps along the way and the different levels within the sport as the key to performing at the top. “You have to function in the now when it comes to earning your stripes. You can’t be thinking I want to go and do this and that, you have to work through a process first. You have to work through Junior cricket, schools cricket, second team cricket, first team cricket, and then you can get to international.”
Born in Swansea, he himself worked through the levels of the Welsh club scene. He made his county debut for Glamorgan against Derbyshire in 1998 and remained with the Welsh county until 2007, when he moved across the border to play for Worcestershire before heading to Hampshire. However, a Welshman through and through, he was drawn back to his beloved Glamorgan on loan in 2011 and on a contract again for 2012.
His international debut came in 2002 against India and he was then selected for the Ashes tour in 2002-03 off the back of that. However, this was where we first saw his injury woes rear its head when he was forced out of the tour following an injury on the opening day of the series in Brisbane. A slide on the boundary ruptured a cruciate ligament in his right knee and the Ashes dream quickly became a nightmare.
However, he fought back to fitness using the momentum of that heartbreak lying on the outfield taunted by Australian fans and set off on the tour of the Caribbean in late 2004. He played all four Tests, taking 15 wickets to helps England secure a series win. Continually chased by a young James Anderson, he was continually fighting for his position. But this all began to change on that tour and, by the beginning of the 2005 season, the yard of pace lost through injury had been regained and he was Ashes ready with reverse-swing in the bag.
Jones was continually hampered by injuries during his career, but still racked up 18 Test Matches for England, taking 59 wickets including three five-wicket hauls and with best figures of 6-53. During England’s 2005 Ashes win, Jones’s 5-44 in the fourth test was integral to England’s victory. He took a total of 18 wickets at 21.00 across the series but was forced to sit out the final game due to injury. His peach of an inswinger that bamboozled Michael Clarke to remove his off stump at Old Trafford is on that will forever be remembered by English and Australian fans.
His career was much shorter than any of us would have hoped and at times it was heart-breaking to see what the incredibly talented player was having to endure. There is no doubt that he could have taken many more international wickets, but following a second knee injury in 2006 he was forced to undergo surgery in Colorado. Despite his best efforts to return to the international scene, he never played another international game. He continued at his beloved Glamorgan until her announced his retirement in September 2013 having racked up 257 First Class wickets. We cannot also forget another huge achievement of his career in 2006 which was being placed ninth (and highest-placed sportsman) in a poll of the world’s sexiest men as voted for by readers of New Woman magazine.
The accolades of Jones are easy to celebrate but just as with all sportspeople there are still moments of hilarity which remind us that they are only human.
He sets the scene saying:
“I was playing in a one-dayer at Derby and I was twelfth man and, me being young an naïve, there were five overs left so I went to have a shower and got changed. The coach came in asked me what I was doing and said ‘get your kit back on.’ So I put my kit back on and didn’t have any socks or pants on. I just had the kit and my boots. I think he thought he would teach me a lesson so one of the lads came off and I went on for him.”
Anyone else see where this is going?…
I dived for this ball at mid-off and my trousers came down and my backside was showing. That was a lesson learned that day.”
Even those at the top can get it wrong and are still learning as they play.