England in Australia, 2006-07 July 16, 2006

Jones to learn Ashes fate

Cricinfo staff

Glamorgan physio Chris Towers says Jones 'is doing well and feels he's on schedule to be fit' © Getty Images

Simon Jones, the England fast bowler, will learn later this month whether he will be fit for the Ashes tour of Australia in November.

Jones, 27, underwent keyhole surgery on his left knee last month, in America, and is currently spending two sessions a day in an oxygen tent in a bid to speed his recovery. He will meet with doctors at the end of July to ascertain his chances of playing a full part against Australia.

"Simon is doing well and feels he's on schedule to be fit," Jones's Glamorgan physio, Chris Towers, told the Sunday Mirror. "But we have to be cautious and see what the surgeon says.

"We have a check-up in a couple of weeks to see how he's progressing. Fingers crossed, there won't be any setbacks."

Jones is one of three England players missing out on the current series against Pakistan, with Michael Vaughan (knee) and Andrew Flintoff (ankle) the most notable absentees. While Vaughan has been ruled out of the entire summer, not to mention England's tour of Australia, Flintoff will almost certainly play and captain in the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford. He represented Lancashire in a recent Twenty20 Cup match where he bowled a fierce, hostile spell to settle the nerves of England's selectors who, all summer, have been patching up a depleted squad with handfuls of fresh-faced newcomers.

One such young bowler to be selected is Liam Plunkett who has rather struggled to assert himself, either with bat or ball, which merely emphasises the gap left by Jones; his 18 wickets and mastery of reverse swing was fundamental in preventing Australia's top six from dominating in the manner they had become accustomed to, and helped England finally wrestle Australia's grasp of the urn.

Last week Jones admitted that he still had a lot of work to do, but said that "there is no better feeling than to play against Australia in an Ashes series. That is what's keeping me going."