|Player:||GO Jones, MA Atherton, CMW Read, PA Jaques, MJ Clarke|
DateLine: 21st November 2006
Geraint Jones says his regaining of the wicketkeeping duties for England in this week's opening Ashes Test against Australia has not soured his relationship with dumped Chris Read.
Jones was anointed last week as England's 'keeper by coach Duncan Fletcher for the first Test and has played in all three of the tourists' Test lead-up games with Read looking on. Fletcher's decision has been slammed by former England captain and now commentator Mike Atherton, who said Jones' reinstatement at the expense of Read was poorly handled by Fletcher, a long-time fan of Jones. Atherton said the move left little doubt the team would have no confidence in Read if Jones was injured during the series and needs to be replaced. But Jones, who kept behind the stumps in England's Ashes series victory last year, says there is nothing personal between the two wicketkeepers. "I was a little bit surprised to be honest," Jones said Monday before the tourists left for Brisbane. "Chris had the gloves at the end of the summer, I thought the first two weeks would be crucial and I was hoping I could push my point strongly enough that I'd be included. The early timing of finding out was a good one for me but I feel for Chris in that regard, it gave me a chance to get my head around it." On the subject of their relationship, Jones was clear. "It was difficult for him when he found out I was playing, and I felt for him in that regard, but other than that we still workout in the gym together, we're basically friends," he said. "There's nothing personal between us, we know that, and when he was included last summer I sent him a text to say good luck and go well, there's nothing between us, it's a selection thing." Jones is regarded as a superior batsman giving England a longer batting spine, but his wicketkeeping has been criticised. Jones dropped a straightforward chance off opening batsman Phil Jaques, who went on to make a century in the tour opening match against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra. He also missed a stumping on Michael Clarke in the match against New South Wales and another botched stumping against South Australia on Sunday, but Jones felt confident he would be right for the Brisbane Test. Jones also put down seven chances in last year's Ashes series in England.