England will wait on swing king Jones

Last updated at 08:54 16 September 2005

Simon Jones' expertise in the art of reverse swing could encourage England to play a waiting game ahead of the tour of Pakistan.

The 26-year-old is currently sidelined with an injured right ankle which kept him out of the Ashes decider at the Oval last week but is likely to be named in the party for the eight-week tour - if only provisionally subject to his regaining fitness - next Monday.

It is yet to be determined whether the bone spur which is causing discomfort around the joint will need surgery or the course of anti-inflammatory tablets, injections and ice treatment has been sufficiently effective to avoid such measures.

So influential has Welshman Jones become in the Test side - his 18 wickets at 21 runs apiece propelled England to the verge of series victory over the Australians - that the management should give him every opportunity, just as they did prior to the fifth Test, when he failed a fitness check 48 hours before the start.

"With this kind of injury you have to be patient and wait," Dr Peter Gregory, the England and Wales Cricket Board's chief medical officer, said.

"What we weren't able to do was give him a good rest because of his fitness test before the final Test match. So I think we will have a better idea at the end of next week.

"There is no definitive on whether to operate or not, it is not as simple as that, it is a pain thing and some people can get through better than others."

Coach Duncan Fletcher said he was 'optimistic from the reports' on Jones' progress and views the Glamorgan fast bowler's ability to gain aerial movement in unconventional manner as an essential weapon.

"He will be key to us," Fletcher said. "The wickets they produced last time we toured were for spinners.

"If they try to take us on with spin they have a huge problem now because it will play into our hands.

"If they prepare those dry wickets we can fight with reverse swing.

"We have three guys who can reverse swing it and we also have Ashley Giles, so we have got our bases covered."

One of the other 'reversers' Andrew Flintoff underwent the knife to fix a bone spur problem in February and took nearly three months to recover.

Jones, meanwhile, admitted head had to rule heart in the build-up to the drawn contest at the Oval which sealed the 2-1 victory, England's first over Australia for 18 years.

"It was probably the hardest decision I've had to make, to declare myself unfit," Jones said. "But I thought 'I can't really go into the game thinking I want to play and let the boys down'."

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