Englandâ€™s under-pressure wicket-keeper Geraint Jones heads into the second Test against Pakistan starting at Old Trafford here on 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 Englandâ€™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.
â€œDown my end of the order a lot of the time you can set the team up and help them get a decent total,â€ Jones, a member of the England playersâ€™ management committee, said. â€œThat pressure for runs is there. Thatâ€™s something we were very good at and that has slipped a little bit with myself not scoring the volume of runs Iâ€™d like to.
â€œItâ€™s up to me to go out there in this Test and put my hand up, but I think thatâ€™s something Iâ€™ve been good at all the way along - when the pressureâ€™s been on in a situation Iâ€™ve gone out there and really contributed well,â€ 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 Nottinghamshireâ€™s Read increased the pressure on his rival by scoring a century for England A against Pakistan before the drawn first Test at Lordâ€™s, the first of a four-match series.
â€œIâ€™d like to think Iâ€™ve coped with it very well. Itâ€™s been there from the start so itâ€™s not something thatâ€™s crept up overnight,â€ said Jones.
â€œThe intensity has increased over the last few months which has coincided with Chris Read getting some good scores which is fair enough. Iâ€™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.
â€œIâ€™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,â€ he added.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, July 28th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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