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Cricket: Glamorgan's Jones poised for his England chance at Old Trafford; Paceman poised to play in third Test against Sri Lanka.


ENGLAND'S desire to continue their development as an international team seems likely to prompt the selectors to introduce the raw pace of Glamorgan's Simon Jones as they attempt to complete an impressive series victory over Sri Lanka next week.

As impressive as their all-round display was during the innings and 111-run triumph at Edgbaston, coach Duncan Fletcher has also been concerned at the lack of penetration in England's attack at times during the opening two Tests.

It is for that reason Fletcher is considering giving Jones his Test debut at Old Trafford and plans to take another look at a player he first noticed during his second spell as coach with Glamorgan in 1999.

Called into the squad at Edgbaston, Jones was limited to a couple of days practice, which were restricted by rain, and getting on the field as 12th man for Mark Butcher, who was suffering with a sore left knee.

When the selectors meet later this week, though, Jones will be given even greater consideration as England seek to discover a player capable of challenging the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee as one of the fastest bowlers in the world.

``Once again there are important decisions to make and at some stage we've got to have a look at Jones,'' explained Fletcher. ``That speed is a rare commodity and at some stage we're going to have to look at it.

``I hear Old Trafford is a real quick wicket so we're probably going to have another difficult decision to make there. It was difficult to judge him at Edgbaston because the nets were slow and low so we'll have to look at him again.''

Fletcher plans to watch Jones go through his paces at Chesterfield this week as part of the MCC team to face Sri Lanka having been limited to just one wicket for Glamorgan against the tourists on the weekend prior to the last Test.

The England coach, though, is already a confirmed admirer of Jones's pace, claiming, ``People don't realise that he is the one guy that I demanded go to the Academy in Australia this winter.

``I first saw him in 1999 and right away I thought there was something special. He was really quick, had a great arm and was a great athlete.

``I remember him having a huge problem with his run-up when I was at Glamorgan because he was no-balling a lot, but I remember seeing the speed then and that really impressed me.

``I asked after him the next year when I was England coach and I have been monitoring him since.''

With an Ashes tour coming up this winter when England traditionally try to blood a young fast bowler - Alex Tudor made a spectacular debut in Perth on the last trip to Australia - the timing could not be better for Jones to burst through.

While the selectors consider Jones as a possibility for Old Trafford, Surrey lefthander Butcher faces a trip to Sheffield tomorrow to have a scan on his troublesome left knee.


SIMON JONES: Impressive
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 4, 2002
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