Squad announcements, 2008 July 3, 2008

Simon Jones back in the England reckoning

Cricinfo staff

Simon Jones: on the comeback trail © Getty Images
After months and months of false starts and injury setbacks, Simon Jones is one step closer to playing his first international cricket in three years after England named him in their 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy in Pakistan in September. Jones broke down during the fourth Test of the 2005 Ashes at Trent Bridge, having set England up for victory with six first-innings wickets, and has not played at the highest level since then.

He had made several abortive attempts to come back to county cricket in the intervening seasons, switching from Glamorgan to Worcestershire in the process, but this year he has been bowling well for his new county and the announcement will be massively encouraging for him.

"He's made his move," said England's selector, Geoff Miller. "He's moved from Glamorgan to Worcester, and he's got himself fighting fit. He looks really good and he's on the mend - he's not mended yet and there's a little while to go before we knock that squad down to 15, but from what we've seen - and we've monitored him quite stringently over the last few weeks - it's nice to see him back."

For the time being, Jones will continue to ply his trade for Worcester, and seek to confirm the match fitness before he is truly considered for an international recall. But Miller conceded that if the wickets keep coming in county cricket, he will have to be considered for the forthcoming series against South Africa.

"Of course he's got a chance," said Miller. "He's not made himself unavailable for Test cricket, so if he keeps performing consistently, of course he's got a chance. There's the pace angle, and what he could do with the reverse swing. If he can perform like he did in the Ashes, then we've got something special there. It would be absolutely fantastic if he's knocking on the door. It would be a problem we look forward to."

Samit Patel, 23, has also made the long list for an England debut after a career that also featured England Under-19 appearances. The squad also includes the Australian Darren Pattinson, who was born in England but has lived most of his life in Melbourne.

Pattinson, 29, was a late starter at first-class level and in 2006-07 was a surprise call-up for Victoria when the state's contracted fast bowlers were all injured. A steady right-arm fast bowler who concentrates on accuracy and swing rather than extreme speed, Pattinson has been a revelation in his first taste of county cricket with Nottinghamshire, where he has collected 24 first-class wickets at 22.20 and he 13 one-day wickets at 17.84. "He's a very solid character," said Miller. "His consistency is terrific and he's deserved that kind of notoriety."

England, meanwhile, announced an unchanged squad for the upcoming South Africa Test series which begins with the first Test at Lord's next week.

Champions Trophy squad Tim Ambrose (wk), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Michael Carberry, Paul Collingwood (capt), Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Ed Joyce, Rob Key, Sajid Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Phil Mustard, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Samit Patel, Darren Pattinson, Kevin Pietersen, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Owais Shah, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Chris Tremlett, Luke Wright.

Test squad Michael Vaughan (capt), Tim Ambrose (wk), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Ryan Sidebottom, Andrew Strauss, Chris Tremlett.