Philip Anthony Jaques
May 03, 1979, Wollongong, New South Wales
Left hand Bat
Left arm Medium
Phil Jaques was another Australian left-handed opener who had to wait for his chance, but once he was given a permanent spot he refused to let it go easily. Only a severe back injury that restricted his movement could stop him; unfortunately it led to three operations and the loss of his contract in 2009. Jaques finished the 2008 West Indies tour with a century in the final Test, but he was dropped for the next match in India when Matthew Hayden returned and Simon Katich was the preferred partner. The back was already creaking and he was soon flying home for an operation, confident his comeback would be swift. Some complications, more surgery and the emergence of Phillip Hughes meant there were no openings even after Hayden's retirement. He returned to fitness for New South Wales in 2009-10 and was content with a summer that included a Shield hundred and a state record 171 not out in the FR Cup.
Given two Tests in Justin Langer's absence, Jaques became Langer's full-time replacement in 2007 and was so successful in his first season that his predecessor's fine output wasn't missed. Starting neatly with a determined 100 against Sri Lanka at the Gabba, he followed up his breakthrough innings with a biffing 150 in the next game in Hobart. A bout of the mumps was a brief interruption, but he regained health in time for the India series and, after overcoming a slow start in the West Indies, finished with scores of 76, 31 and 108 to register 806 runs at 50.37 in nine matches. They were figures that would have pleased Langer or Hayden, a pair which also had to spend extended periods fighting for national recognition.
Jaques was holidaying on Queensland's Hamilton Island in 2005 when the Test call finally came to satisfy an early-career gamble. A British passport holder, Jaques was the victim of a country tug-o-war in 2003 after scoring 1409 County Championship runs with Northamptonshire, but he refused to commit to England because "my heart says Australia". Jaques maintained such a consistent standard with New South Wales [1191 runs in 2004-05] and Yorkshire [1359 in 2005 and 1118 in 2004] that when Langer was ruled out of the Boxing Day Test against South Africa Trevor Hohns said simply: "Phil virtually demanded selection."
Jaques had to introduce himself to Ricky Ponting before his Test debut, but his reputation had already excited the Australian captain, and Steve Waugh believed he had the potential to be the next Adam Gilchrist. "Australia is lucky to have a player like him coming through," Waugh said. "He is the prototype for young players." However, his first game was a quiet one - he walked after squirting Shaun Pollock to short leg for 2 and improved with 28 in the second innings. Another opportunity came in the second Test in Bangladesh in 2006 and he produced a capable 66.
With an attacking mindset and home-made technique, he has shown the ability to score big runs on northern English greentops and hard-baked pitches in Australia and Pakistan, where he toured with Australia A in 2005 and 2007. Injuries have provided him with openings throughout his career - he made his first-class debut with 40 at No. 10 as a late addition against Queensland in 2000-01 - and a Katich groin problem was responsible for his one-day international call-up in the middle of the 2005-06 VB Series. His stunning 94 was the highest score by an Australian first-gamer, but he was harshly dropped when Katich recovered. The next ODI was a jet-lagged memory after he was summoned to South Africa, scored zero and went home as soon as Ponting's stomach improved. Trips to Malaysia and New Zealand also brought more green and gold caps without much satisfaction, and by the 2007 World Cup his appearances had ended.
Jaques retired from first-class cricket in Australia in January 2012 to continue his career on England's professional circuit where he was classified as a local player due to his British passport. With 792 Championship runs at 44.00 in 2012, including two centuries, he helped Yorkshire win promotion to Division One for the second time, having been part of the side that went up in 2005. He moved on and was in mint form for Nottinghamshire - 894 Championship runs at nearly 50 - when, at 35, his county career was interrupted; he was prematurely released to take up the role of assistant coach of New South Wales Blues. He also played for Northants and Worcestershire.
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