The ECB have moved to right one of the great injustices of the game by presenting Alan Jones with a Test cap.

Jones, the former Glamorgan opening batsman, appeared for England against the Rest of the World side in 1970. At the time the games were considered by all involved as authentic Tests and the Rest of the World side contained many of the finest players of the age: Sir Gary Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Graeme Pollock, Mike Procter, Barry Richards et al.

But the series, which replaced the scheduled one against South Africa, was subsequently downgraded in status by the ICC. As a result, Jones, who never played for England again, lost his standing as a Test player. While the story that he was asked to return his England cap, blazer and jumper is not true - "I have them at home," he said, "they look as good as new; I've hardly worn them!" - he admitted the decision to rid the match of Test status was a "huge disappointment".

So, on the 50th anniversary of the Test that wasn't, the ECB decided to surprise him. Jones, now 81, was presented with a new England Test cap - No. 696; the next available after Zak Crawley was awarded No. 695 in November - in a virtual ceremony attended by, among others, ECB chair Colin Graves, England Test captain Joe Root, former England captain and Glamorgan teammate Tony Lewis, and Glamorgan CEO Hugh Morris.

"While the record books may not show Alan as a capped international cricketer, the ECB wanted to recognise his England appearance and celebrate his remarkable career as a player, coach and administrator by awarding him England cap number 696," Graves said. "My congratulations go to Alan, as well as my thanks and respect for all he has done for the game of cricket in the last six decades, especially in his native Wales."

Root said: "It's a privilege to do this. Your contribution to cricket has been fantastic and it's only right that we recognise it today.

"Hearing and reading about Alan's achievements has been inspiring. The cap makes you part of a very special family and I hope it's not too long before we can welcome Alan to an England match to congratulate him in person."

While the ECB's gesture does not mean the games are now officially recognised as Tests - the ICC would have to sanction such a decision - it will be widely celebrated by the Welsh cricket-loving community who have long fought for such a move. As Morris put it: "The whole of Wales will be thrilled."

Cap or no cap, Jones enjoyed an outstanding career. His 36,049 first class runs are a record for a player uncapped at Test level and for 23 consecutive years, between 1961 and 1983, he registered 1,000 first class runs in a season. He was a member of the Glamorgan side that won the 1969 County Championship, coach of the Glamorgan side that won the 1993 Sunday League and director of cricket when they won the Championship again in 1997. Only one man, John Langridge, has scored more than Jones' 56 first class centuries without winning a Test cap.

"It was a big disappointment when the Rest of the World games were disregarded," Jones said. "I didn't feel as if I was a full England player.

"Even Sobers said he would never have played if it hadn't been considered proper cricket. The Rest of the World side was magnificent and everyone took the series very seriously. Walking out to open the batting at Lord's was very special. It absolutely felt like a Test.

"But I knew I had to succeed. I knew in my heart as I drove into Lord's that if I didn't get runs in that match that would be the end. That's pressure! I was very annoyed but life goes on."

Summing up his experience as a nearly-man, Jones recalled another story which underlined his misfortune.

"I came close [to Test selection] in 1968, I think," he said. "We were playing against Lancashire in Cardiff. Ken Higgs walked into our dressing room and said, 'Alec Bedser, the chairman of selectors, has come to watch you play.'

"Well, it rained for the next two days. But, on the Tuesday, we had a one-innings game and Lancashire set us about 170 to win. I scored 95 not out. But when I got back to the dressing room, Higgs walked back in and said 'Well played, but Alec went back to London yesterday.'

"Life goes on."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo