As the 2007 county season approaches, we will be compiling a list of six men to watch; not necessarily the finest players, but those with particularly significant and interesting seasons ahead.
Simon Jones (Glamorgan)
Everyone knows how good Simon Jones is. He can touch 90mph, he has fire and aggression; and he is a masterful exponent of reverse swing. In the 2005 Ashes, he took 18 wickets at just 21, following on from 15 at 26 in South Africa the previous winter.
The problem is that, at 28, he has still only played 18 Tests. A bowler of his skills is deserving of more than fleeting brilliance; but, alas, he has suffered a number of terrible injuries in his career. Jones revealed the strength of his character by returning better than ever after his horrific injury at The Gabba four years ago; now, after 20 months out of the England side, he must do it all again.
It is no coincidence that England’s form has worsened since. A number of bowlers have been tried in Jones’ place but none have, as yet, really convinced. Sajid Mahmood’s intermittent ability to induce reverse swing has been compared to Jones, but he lacks any semblance of control and too often lacks venom.
England need Jones back in their side, for the variety, dynamism and proven quality. They will watch his progress with Glamorgan with much interest, but will also be aware of the folly of rushing him back too soon. Initial signs have been encouraging; if Jones can work himself back to peak condition, England may well recall him for their second Test series of the summer.
2007 Glamorgan Preview