Jones in it for keeps
Kent man backs decision to mix and match
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: June 20, 2010 3:14pm
Jones: Right call made
Geraint Jones believes England are right to field different wicketkeeping options for different formats.
At present, Matt Prior is the undisputed first-choice at Test level, offering a reassuring presence behind the stumps and a useful batting option down the order.
The Sussex man has, however, slipped out of the fold in the shorter forms of the game, with the selectors favouring alternative options for one-day cricket and Twenty 20.
The man of the moment is Craig Kieswetter, who helped England to World Twenty20 glory in the Caribbean this summer.
He has now been promoted into the one-day squad as well - replacing fellow South African-born England man Prior.
Kent keeper Jones believes both men are fully deserving of a place in the national set-up and feels competition for places is healthy.
He told skysports.com: "I think it's right that they are going with two of them. I think Kieswetter has been outstanding in Twenty20 and deserves his place in the 50-over game as well, so he can show what he can do.
"But I also think that Matt Prior is a terrific keeper and should be for a long time to come. He should be being told by the selectors that there is no pressure on him in the Test arena, and to me it's fine having two guys playing different formats."
Jones admits that there is an argument for sticking with one man across the board, to help with team continuity, but feels modern cricket requires you to mix and match in order to play to your strengths.
He added "It is a tough one. I thought Matt Prior was the person who could do that but Kieswetter has come on the scene. I don't think he's ready for Test level just yet, I think he still has plenty to learn at Somerset, but he is a prospect."
Jones, who made his England debut back in 2004 and was part of the victorious Ashes-winning side of 2005, has not ruled out the prospect of forcing his way back into the fold himself, but admits the crop of younger talent available to the selectors could make it difficult for him to earn a recall.
"I think it would be tough to force my way back in but I am making sure I do my best for Kent," he said.
"There are a lot of options at the moment, with Kieswetter and Prior and Steve Davies doing well at the moment. It's not something I am losing sleep over but I am just trying to enjoy my game and do the best I can.
"I am always trying to improve and if all goes well and something comes with England that's fantastic, but if not and I have played my last game I am happy with that as well."
Jones has offered his full support to the England side preparing to head out to Australia this winter for the 2010/11 Ashes tour, and he is confident that Andrew Strauss' side can emerge victorious Down Under for the first time since 1987.
He said: "Definitely. It's going to be tough though. I know from experience how hard it is to go over after winning the Ashes - having gone in '06.
"The Aussie team now is a lot different, though, to the one which beat us 5-0 and I think England can match them. It could go either way but I think England can win.
"There is a small window of opportunity and you have to make sure you take it. If you get any small opportunity to win the game you have to grab it with both hands, or the opposition will.
"For the bowlers it will be tougher than over here, with some flat wickets, so it's about who rises to the challenge."