England paceman bowls in pre-season friendly April 2, 2007

Jones makes playing comeback

Cricinfo staff

Simon Jones limped out of the tour of India last March © Getty Images
Pre-season friendlies are normally no more significant than batsmen getting time in the middle and bowlers building miles in their legs. However, Glamorgan's early season warm-up match against Sussex at Hove marked a milestone for Simon Jones, the England paceman, who is completing his recovery from yet another knee injury.

Since his starring role in the 2005 Ashes, Jones has barely set foot on a cricket field, and when he has it has usually resulted in him limping off. His comeback for Glamorgan during the 2006 season, following his aborted return on England's tour of India, lasted four matches before he broke down against Ireland in the C&G Trophy.

Now he is trying again, following a winter spent working on his knee at Loughborough, Glamorgan and latterly a warm-weather stint in Cape Town. Statistically the first results have been modest, eight overs for 27 spread over two spells not a full pace, but at this stage it is about the small steps.

Ahead of his comeback, Jones said he was feeling confident: "I'm back to bowling at full pace occasionally. I hit 79mph off three steps last week and I'll be back bowling at 90mph soon; I'm confident now as my knee feels strong. I've no negative demons. I'm probably in the best nick of my life."

However, despite the problems England's pace attack has suffered in Jones's absence the selectors will be wary of rushing him back into the side especially with the first Test against West Indies starting on May 17, only four weeks into the season. Glamorgan have two Championship matches and a University fixture during the opening stages of the summer, which will give a better indication of Jones's long term prognosis.