Simon Jones can still hope for a place in England's Test squad in the Caribbean, even though he was not named in the party of 15 announced today. The Glamorgan paceman, who is recovering from the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered in the Brisbane Ashes Test 14 months ago - will need to prove his fitness on the forthcoming A tour of India.



Simon Jones - still in with a shout
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Talking to ecb.co.uk about today's announcement of the Test and one-day squads, England's chairman of selectors David Graveney gave Jones every chance of inclusion if he can demonstrate a full recovery.

"As far as Simon Jones is concerned, I think it would be fantastic to get Anderson, Harmison, Jones and Hoggard, and the other young guys, supplemented by the likes of Andrew Flintoff and Rikki Clarke, and you've got a seam attack that will cause lots of countries a lot of problems for many years to come," Graveney said.

"James Kirtley is in the one-day squad, but if unfortunately Simon doesn't recover, then James could easily be involved (in the Test squad as well). We also have a number of other options - it's an exciting time for younger bowlers."

Although discussion about the fitness of the faster bowlers loomed large in the selectors' deliberations over the past few days, there was also extensive debate about who should fill the places in every other department.

"Although we've ended up with very similar squads to those that went to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, we spent a considerable amount of time talking not only about the faster bowlers but all aspects of the team - the batting, wicket-keeping and the slow bowling," Graveney added.

"We went with an experienced middle order to Sri Lanka, and their success rate was no different from the younger guys in the team. I think we need to point out - and I'm sure that Nasser Hussain, Graham Thorpe, and to a lesser extent Mark Butcher, realise this - that at that time of your career you've got to perform above the odds to keep out the younger guys.

"Sri Lanka was very difficult. Murali bowled brilliantly, as did Chaminda Vaas. West Indies may not be so demanding in those particular areas, so we need our batting line-up to put enough runs on the board to protect what is a young attack."



Ashley Giles - senior spinner
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As with the batting, the wicket-keeping and spin personnel are unchanged from Sri Lanka apart from the absence of Robert Croft, who retired from international cricket last week. It means Ashley Giles and Gareth Batty will share the spin duties, while Chris Read and Geraint Jones are again the chosen wicket-keepers.

"I thought Chris kept outstandingly well in Sri Lanka," Graveney enthused. "Again it's an exciting time, with plenty of other young keepers outside that squad. I believe that the lowest a wicket-keeper should bat in a Test team is at seven, with four bowlers below that. The bottom of the batting order sometimes gets blown away - we've seen it against India and Australia.

"Sri Lanka presented the problem of high-quality spin on responsive wickets, which is something we don't encounter here very often, so it was very much learning on the hoof. Chris will probably be disappointed with his aggregate run haul, but he was still there at the end at Kandy to save the game, and I hope that tour will have been a huge learning curve for the younger guys as a whole."

Although England have not won a Test series in the Caribbean since 1968, Graveney believes victory is possible, and necessary to enhance the team's global ranking.

"The West Indies are a different side from five years ago, without Walsh, Ambrose and all the fine fast bowlers they've had in previous years. They've got some young quick bowlers and an outstanding batting line-up.

"Brian Lara's probably batting as well as anyone in the world at the moment. Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith have just got hundreds at a run a ball in the same Test match. They're playing at home, and that's an advantage. Apart from our two most experienced batsmen we're a young side.

"We need to win. We haven't beaten a major nation since 2002 against Sri Lanka. We've drawn with India and South Africa, and lost to Australia and Sri Lanka. The game needs us to win, but we'll have to play very well to do so. We will have had a break, which everyone's asked for. But if you have a break, you need to hit the track running, because the West Indies will have played a lot of cricket."