Jones to play for Papua New Guinea

Geraint Jones' hard-hitting was instrumental in Kent's victory over Essex Getty Images

Geraint Jones, the former England wicketkeeper, will return to the country of his birth and play for Papua New Guinea in the World Twenty20 qualifying tournament.

Jones will join up with the Papua New Guinea squad for a training camp in February before trying to help them earn a place at the World T20 in the qualifiers in March. Both finalists of the tournament in Dubai will qualify for the main event in Sri Lanka in September.

Born in Kundiawa in the Chimbu Province of Papua New Guinea, Jones was raised in Australia before moving to Britain and gaining a contract with Kent in 2001. He made his England debut against West Indies in April 2004 and was part of the team in 2005 that regained the Ashes.

Jones, who played two T20 internationals, has been out of international cricket since 2006. He lost his Test place in December 2005 and played the last of his 49 ODIs against Sri Lanka at Headingley in July 2006.

His decision provides a major boost for Papua New Guinea and their general manager, Greg Campbell, was delighted at the news. "I couldn't believe it when Geraint contacted us," Campbell said. "He is genuinely excited about coming to play and helping us achieve the dream of a World Cup spot. He has played so many games at the highest level. His talent and experience will be incredibly valuable for us."

Papua New Guinea begin their World T20 qualifying campaign against Afghanistan on March 13.