County News April 1, 2008

Rhodes urges caution over Jones

Cricinfo staff

Simon Jones last played for England in the 2005 Ashes, his career ravaged by injury © Getty Images

Steve Rhodes, the Worcestershire director of cricket, has urged caution over the fitness and future of Simon Jones, the England fast bowler, who joined the club from Glamorgan over the winter.

Jones, 29, hasn't played for England since the Trent Bridge Test of the 2005 Ashes, since when he has only managed three Championship games and five one-day matches. After Worcestershire poached him from Glamorgan in the winter, Rhodes has been impressed with what he has seen from Jones so far.

"We were delighted to bring him to Worcestershire - and if we can get him back playing like we know he can, then you will see results from Simon," Rhodes said. "He is very excited now the season is nearly upon us, and the one thing about Simon is he is desperate to play at New Road. There were other counties involved - but he wants to bowl at New Road."

In spite of Jones' optimism and initial encouraging display in the nets, Rhodes insists that his careful management will be key in maintaining a balance between preparation and playing matches.

"The right way to approach things would be to manage his cricket so he gets the right amount of rest, the right amount of competition and the right amount of preparation and conditioning to carry on playing games," Rhodes said. "Getting the right balance is crucial. It is literally a case of, should everyone be fit, looking through the fixtures well in advance and almost putting together a programme or a plan. Rotation can be an option.

"The same will apply to [Matt] Mason, after missing nearly all of last season with his shoulder problem. He was a big loss, and we will manage him as well. Matt is a guy who enjoys lots of bowling. Now where he is in his career, he can shut his eyes and bowl and he will get the ball there or thereabouts. It is not as necessary as it used to be.

"In the past he probably felt rusty if he wasn't bowling. The older you get, you can fall out of bed and bowl a line and length."