October 14, 2013

Have you met Mr Jones?

After the Smiths, we look at the Joneses to have played Test cricket

After the recent XI on Smiths, a reader suggested one on the 11 Joneses to have played Test cricket. So here they are, Michael Jones:

Ernie Jones
Probably the most charismatic of the Test-playing Joneses, big, bluff Ernie Jones was one of the earliest genuinely quick bowlers, collecting 64 wickets in 19 Tests between 1894 and 1902 despite occasional murmurs about his action. However, his most famous delivery came not in a Test but in an early match on Australia's 1896 tour of England, when he unleashed a ball that went through - or perilously close to - one of the sacred landmarks of Victorian Britain... WG Grace's beard. "Sorry Doctor, she slipped," was Jonah's legendary response.

Andrew Jones
The New Zealand batsman Andrew Jones had an ungainly homespun technique - but it worked well for him, as he scored nearly 3000 runs in both Tests and ODIs. "His style wasn't pleasing to the eye," wrote Martin Crowe, his partner in a then-record stand of 467 against Sri Lanka in 1990-91, "but if I were to choose someone to bat for my life, that person would be Andrew Howard Jones."

Simon Jones
One of the reverse-swinging heroes of the epic 2005 Ashes, Simon Jones was hamstrung by a succession of cruel injuries: after taking 18 wickets in that series, Jones never played another Test. Heartwarmingly, he was still on the big stage in 2013, sending down a testing spell (2 for 36) in Glamorgan's recent YB40 final defeat at Lord's. He hopes to continue next year as a T20 "freelance".

Richard Jones
A consistent batsman who played for Auckland and Wellington, and scored 19 first-class centuries, Richard Jones was probably unlucky to win only one cap for New Zealand, against Pakistan at Wellington at Christmas 2003. He also played five ODIs. Jones's last three first-class innings - for Auckland in March 2010 - were 123, 89 and 170 not out.

Dean Jones
A fine batsman, if an occasionally controversial character, Dean Jones nailed down the No. 3 spot for Australia with a superb 210 in stifling heat in the second tied Test, against India in Chennai in 1986-87. A fluid right-hander with all the shots, he scored more than 3600 runs in Tests, and was even more effective in one-dayers, where his attractive, aggressive style brought him 6068 runs at 44: even so, the selectors saw him as expendable, and his international career was over at 33.

Geraint Jones
Geraint Jones is more than just the answer to a perennial quiz question, as the only Test player so far to be born in Papua New Guinea. A useful wicketkeeper and handy batsman, Jones was a seemingly automatic England selection between 2004 and 2006, and took the vital catch in the two-run Ashes classic at Edgbaston in 2005. He also scored a Test century, and was not dismissed for a duck until his 34th match - in which he bagged a pair... and after which he was dropped for good. He's still playing for Kent.

Prior Jones
Trinidad's Prior Jones was a useful seam bowler who lost his best years to the war: he made his debut at 30 in 1947-48. He was expected to spearhead the West Indian attack in England in 1950, but on a tour dominated by the new spinning sensations Ramadhin and Valentine, Jones rarely got a look-in and played only two of the Tests.

Arthur Jones
A somewhat forgotten figure, the Nottinghamshire amateur Arthur Jones was a fine batsman in cricket's "Golden Age" around the turn of the 20th century, and captained England in Australia in 1907-08. But he was bothered by illness on that tour, missing three of the Tests, and never fully recovered: he died of tuberculosis in 1914.

Jeff Jones
The career of Jeff Jones, the Glamorgan left-arm fast bowler, foreshadowed that of his son, Simon: some fiery spells for county and country, but ultimately spoiled by injury - he was forced to retire in 1968. Jeff did well on the 1965-66 Ashes tour, taking 15 wickets in four Tests, but ended up with 44 from just 15 appearances (Simon took 59 from 18).

Sammy Jones
The New South Wales batsman Sammy Jones has a niche in cricket history, as the man run out by WG Grace while doing a spot of "gardening" (patting down a mark on the pitch) at The Oval in 1882. Grace's action, while within the laws, incensed the Australians, and their demon fast bowler Fred Spofforth charged in to take seven wickets as England, needing only 85 to win, were rolled for 77 in the match that spawned the Ashes legend. Jones missed much of the 1888 tour after contracting smallpox, but survived to reach the age of 89.

Charles Jones
A left-handed allrounder from British Guiana, Charles Jones appeared in four of West Indies' early Tests, with modest results. His debut, in Georgetown in 1929-30, ended with the first Test victory for his side - not that Jones had very much to do with it, scoring 6 and 2 and failing to take a wicket.

12th man: Alan Jones This team even has a readymade 12th man: the accumulative Glamorgan left-hand opener Alan Jones thought he was a Test player for a few years, and although he was eventually told he wasn't, he never gave back the England cap and sweater he was awarded after opening against the Rest of the World at Lord's in 1970. It was Jones' misfortune to be picked against a very strong side, including probably the fastest bowler around at the time, Mike Procter. Caught behind off Procky for 5 and 0 in an innings defeat, Jones returned to county cricket, ending up with over 36,000 runs. There should also be an honourable mention for Percy Twentyman-Jones, who played once for South Africa in 1902-03, and bagged a pair. To make up for it he did later become a supreme court judge.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013.