CCI President's XI v England, Mumbai, 3rd day February 20, 2006

Duncan Fletcher - Simon Jones 'looked pretty effective out there'

Simon Jones was advised not to bowl at full throttle © Getty Images
Duncan Fletcher is happy with Simon Jones's bowling performance in the second innings that triggered the victory against the CCI President's XI in Mumbai. He said he didn't want Jones to bowl at full throttle in his first competitive match since the fourth Ashes Test in August 2005.

Jones chugged in and bowled just seven overs at half pace across two spells in the first innings. He took the new ball instead of Stephen Harmison in the second, bowled faster off a longer run-up and took 2 for 9 in five overs. Fletcher said that they had to handle Jones with care and see how he came through after this match. "All these bowlers, anyone who comes back from injury, they are a little bit tender here and there," Fletcher told reporters after the game. "You just got to be careful and we wanted to make sure, especially with Simon, he is an individual that's either flat out or nothing. It's very, very hard with him, that's the way he is, whether he throws, runs around in the outfield or bowls. And we just wanted him upfront, not to tear in there, straightway in a game, his first competitive game.

"We'd liked him to have bowled a little bit quicker, but we know with him, if you say that then he will bowl flat out. We had to treat him with kid gloves, just say half-pace and today he looked pretty effective out there."

England had an uncompetitive attitude about them for most of the match and Fletcher confirmed that they were not looking to force a win until the final session. "Well from my point of view we used the game. We wanted the game as a practice game and it was very satisfactory. We didn't really go in for a win, honestly. We went in there to use those three days as effectively as we can, to give all the batters a bat, and give all the bowlers a bowl. It was very pleasing to see the way we finished it off. It looked pretty clinical in the end."

Ian Blackwell picked up six wickets in the match and scored 59 while Monty Panesar bowled a tight line and length and finished with three, giving England a difficult choice ahead of their next tour game in Baroda. "As far as the spinners are concerned, it is still a very, very difficult decision," said Fletcher. "I've discussed this through the game with Michael and we are going to have to out our heads together over the next two days and it is going to be a very difficult decision. We still haven't finalized who will go in or whether we will go in with two spinners. If it is a green top do we risk going in with two spinners to have a look at them or do we go in with the best attack for this three-day game?"

George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo