England Cricket Players
No player better encapsulated the fluctuating fortunes of the 2005 Ashes series than Geraint Jones. Fast-tracked into the Test team at the expense of the superior gloveman, Chris Read, Jones contributed vital runs at key moments - none more important than his 85 in a stand of 177 with Andrew Flintoff at Trent Bridge - but produced so many fumbles that every edge became a heart-in-the-mouth moment. He clung on, however, to the one chance that really mattered, at the very end of England's two-run win at Edgbaston, and emerged from the series more or less in credit - if not with his place secure. Born in Papua New Guinea to Welsh parents, Jones lived and learned his cricket in Australia until he was 22, and was almost 27 when he first came to the attention of the England selectors. But he had timed his run to perfection. In the 2003 season - Alec Stewart's last - Jones scored the best part of 1000 runs at an average of more than 50. After a brief stint at Glamorgan, he had moved to Kent, whose supporters are connoisseurs of fine keeping. But his weight of runs in the 2nd XI was a major factor in Paul Nixon's controversial return to Leicestershire. Jones was rewarded with a call-up to England's Test squad to tour West Indies, and after displacing Read behind the stumps in the fourth and final Test in Antigua, he cemented his place with a thrilling century against New Zealand at Headingley, where his sixth-wicket alliance with Flintoff had England fans rubbing their hands with glee. His performances haven't quite attained the same heights, though his counterpunching style is still good for a momentum-seizing half-century. Jones still speaks in a soft Australian accent, and is a qualified pharmacy technician.