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February 21, 2006
Simon Jones, the England fast bowler, said his ankle felt fine at the end of the tourists' three-day warm-up game against the Cricket Club of India (CCI) XI in Mumbai. Jones had been laid off for nearly six months due to the ankle injury sustained at the close of the Ashes series last September.
"I am feeling good. I took it a little bit easier on Sunday. I am better. I bowled off my long run-up and am happy with the way things went. I bowled again after the game in the nets and the ankle is feeling good," he told reporters.
One of the architects of England's Ashes triumph over Australia, Jones went on to miss the subsequent tour of Pakistan due to injury. Jones took 2 for 9 which helped England destroy CCI for 75 in their second innings and provided England with a surprise win. He, along with his team-mates, left for Vadodara today for the next warm-up game beginning on Thursday.
He felt that his earlier tour of India in 2004 as a member of the England A team had been a steep learning curve, but one that was ultimately beneficial. "It was a tough tour," he said. "I have never been to India before that. The turning wicket in Chennai was not encouraging for fast bowlers. We went to Delhi and other places where the wickets were slow.
"You have to work hard for your wickets," he added. "That's going to happen in this series against the Indians. We are going to work hard against the best batting line up in the world. We are up to the challenge. We have got some of the best bowling in the world. It should be quite challenging."
The 27-year-old Welshman, who took 18 of his 59 Test wickets in the last Ashes series, had made his debut at Lord's against India in 2002. He said he was happy coming in to bowl after the new ball had been shared by Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison. "To be fair Hoggy and Harmy have done a very good job in the last few years. I don't see any reason to change that. I just come on first or second change. It had worked well for us in the Ashes.
"It [not opening the bowling] doesn't bother me. I like bowling with the new ball, like bowling with the old ball too. I'll do what the skipper tells me."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth