Harmison offers Jones full support

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The Independent Online

Simon Jones' battle to prove his fitness and earn the final place in England's tour squad for the West Indies has been given enthusiastic support from his potential strike partner, Steve Harmison.

The Glamorgan fast bowler has been out for 14 months with a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained during the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane in 2002, but was considered for a place in the touring squad for the West Indies announced on Wednesday. But after completing just two second XI matches since the injury, the selectors wanted to see more evidence of Jones' fitness, which he will be expected to prove during the A tour to Malaysia and India, which begins on 26 January, before England add the final name to the senior squad.

Harmison has spent time with Jones in recent months as he also recovered from injury and is glad his friend is in the reckoning. "I am really pleased for Simon," Harmison said. "I have spent a lot of time with him this winter and he has worked really hard to get fit again and he is physically stronger now."

Jones said he was delighted to have the chance to prove himself after so long out. "It is a big thing for me because I have worked so hard over the last five or six months," he said.