Jones aiming to keep up to standard
by AFP

Ground:Old Trafford, Manchester
Player:GO Jones, A Flintoff, LE Plunkett, CMW Read, MP Vaughan
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 27th July 2006


England's under-pressure wicket-keeper Geraint Jones heads into the second Test against Pakistan starting at Old Trafford here Thursday knowing the side need him to deliver with both bat and gloves.


All-rounder Andrew Flintoff (ankle) and fellow quick Liam PLunkett (side strain) have both been ruled out. As well as reducing England's bowling options, their absence has left the lower order looking particularly weak.


And the lack of runs from the tail has been magnified by the recent form of Jones, selected as England keeper ahead of Chris Read on account of his superior batting, who has scored just one fifty in his last 14 Test innings.


"Down my end of the order a lot of the time you can set the team up and help them get a decent total," Jones, a member of the England players' management committee, said.


"That pressure for runs is there. That's something we were very good at and that has slipped a little bit with myself not scoring the volume of runs I'd like to.


"It's up to me to go out there in this Test and put my hand up, but I think that's something I've been good at all the way along - when the pressure's been on in a situation I've gone out there and really contributed well," the Kent gloveman added.


Jones, since adding 177 with Flintoff during the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last year, has averaged less than 20.


And Nottinghamshire's Read increased the pressure on his rival by scoring a century for England A against Pakistan before the drawn first Tes at Lord's, the first of a four-match series.


"I'd like to think I've coped with it very well. It's been there from the start so it's not something that's crept up overnight," said Jones, born in Papua New Guinea and raised in Australia but qualified for England on account of his Welsh parents.


"The intensity has increased over the last few months which has coincided with Chris Read getting some good scores which is fair enough.


"I've done really well with the gloves recently and that was one area where I wanted to prove everyone wrong and that I can keep.


"I've scored runs in Test cricket and I know I can score runs and I feel in good form, so I know there is a score coming."


Were Jones, 30, to do just that at Old Trafford this week, it would help him erase the memory of his performance against Australia at the Manchester venue last year.


He dropped Shane Warne twice and allowed him to score a 90 which helped Australia escape with a draw.


"Last summer in the Ashes was a real roller-coaster time for me, especially here at Old Trafford," Jone admitted.


"After the Test here that was as low as I've been, but my team-mates have really helped in that.


"Even now I see Michael Vaughan around and he comes over and has a chat and I get texts from Ashley Giles so that support has helped me a lot."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)