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Jones to pursue T20 freelance career

Alan Gardner

September 12, 2013

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Simon Jones sends down a delivery, Surrey v Glamorgan, CB40, The Oval, August 21, 2012
Simon Jones hopes to continue playing in T20 leagues around the world © PA Photos
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Simon Jones, the former England seamer, is going to pursue a career as a T20 freelance after announcing his retirement from first-class and List A cricket from the end of the season. He is expected to play for Glamorgan in the Yorkshire Bank 40 final on September 21 and will then focus on securing potentially lucrative contracts to play in T20 competitions around the world.

Jones is coming to the end of a two-year deal with Glamorgan but will discuss a potential T20 contract with the county's incoming chief executive, Hugh Morris, in the close season. Injuries have blighted Jones' career since he became an Ashes winner in 2005 but the 34-year-old is not quite ready to follow his former England team-mate Matthew Hoggard into full retirement just yet.

"If I get the gigs I want to get I won't be resting much," Jones said. "T20 is the option that we're looking at and I'm excited at the prospect of playing in different tournaments if I can. Getting back on the park is something I've worked for a long time and for me to carry on playing it's the obvious choice, to go down that route, as the likes of Shaun Tait have done.

"There's a lot of opportunities out there but you've got to get a gig. I'm looking forward to the challenge and hopefully I get the opportunities I feel I deserve, because I still feel I have a lot to offer the game."

Jones will certainly be the first Welshman to take the path of the T20 itinerant. Andrew Flintoff, another of Jones's 2005 team-mates, planned to end his career that way, before injury had the final word, and while Tait, the former Australia bowler, is among several one-time internationals - such as New Zealand's Scott Styris and Jacob Oram - to play just the shortest format, few England-qualified players have seriously entertained the idea.

The choice may seem a little surprising, given that Jones only made his senior debut in the format in 2008 and managed one T20 appearance for Glamorgan in 2013. His T20 record comprises 43 wickets at 21.46, with an economy of 7.43.

"It's giving me the opportunity to play for another couple of years," Jones said of his decision. "I still feel good in my body, I still feel good in my mind and I still feel I've got the skills and the pace to perform at the highest level. We'll see what happens."

Despite plans to play Championship cricket this year, Jones has only featured in Glamorgan's limited-overs teams, missing the early part of the season due to continued problems with his knee. But he hopes to end on a high with victory at Lord's a week on Saturday and could still be turning out in Cardiff next summer.

"If Glamorgan do want to keep me for the T20 I'd be delighted to stay but if they don't I'm going to pursue other options," he said. "I've had some niggles this year, which have happened in the gym. Glamorgan have a settled team in the four-day stuff and I wasn't quite going to get in there. It has been a frustrating season but this will hopefully be another chapter in my cricketing career."

Glamorgan's head of elite performance, Matthew Mott, who will be leaving the county at the end of the season, added: "Simon has shown great character and determination to keep pushing himself despite his time out of the game at Glamorgan. We wish him well in his endeavours to concentrate on T20 and thank him for his contribution both on and off the field.

"It is a smart and well-thought out decision and I am sure that a number teams around the world will be keen on him given his increased availability for T20 competitions. He is still in great shape and has the passion to keep playing and bowling quick for a few more years to come. Hopefully he can sign off his one-day career with Glamorgan in a winning team at Lord's."

Simon Jones was speaking ahead of the Yorkshire Bank 40 final at Lord's on Saturday September 21. Tickets are available from tickets.lords.org

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 512fm on (September 13, 2013, 0:32 GMT)

@Tigg I'm also not sure if he would get a go in our (NZ) T20 comp either, we've had some pretty good overseas bowlers here the last couple of years such as Tait, Nannes, Laughlin, Napier etc. and those guys are good quality T20 bowlers.

Posted by 512fm on (September 13, 2013, 0:28 GMT)

Bit of a strange decision as I wouldn't have thought he would be much of a T20 bowler, good luck to him but I will be surprised if many leagues pick him up as his limited overs record is not very good.

Posted by MB40 on (September 12, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

Like Tigg, I can't see him getting any big money deals, but maybe another year of English t20 with a second division team, maybe Bangladesh - if Jason Roy, Darren Stevens, Phil Mustard, Josh Cobb, Riki Wessels, et al can get contracts then surely they'd take Simon Jones next season. Whatever he can get out of t20 he deserves - a true unfulfilled talent even if he can say he took 60 odd Test wickets at under 30 and won an Ashes - he should have had much more. He'd surely have played in the 2009 Ashes if not for injuries, and he'd have been at his peak at 31.

Posted by AckaBilk on (September 12, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

Good luck to the man, made the difference for us in winning the Ashes in 05

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (September 12, 2013, 18:36 GMT)

Good luck to him, that reverse swing clean bowling of Michael Clarke is probably my favourite bowled wicket of all time and should be discussed as a pacers version of Warne's ball of the century in my opinion.

Posted by hhillbumper on (September 12, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

having seen him bowl in 05 you have to wonder how good he would have been.His control of reverse swing was a sight to behold that summer.It is so sad that injuries have ruined what could have been a great career.

Posted by Tigg on (September 12, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

While I hope he gets to play in many a T20 league and does well in them all, I have to say I think he'll struggle to gain too many contracts. He's only played 30 odd T20 games and, while his figures are decent, they are hardly spectacular. IPL and Big Bash are probably unlikely although the Kiwi and Bangladeshi tournaments could well take him.

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