Injury leaves Jones in doubt for Test

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The Independent Online

Simon Jones' chances of playing in the first Test against Bangladesh suffered a serious setback yesterday when the recurrence of a back injury forced the England fast bowler to withdraw from Glamorgan's C&G Trophy second-round match against Hampshire. Jones was selected in England's 12-man squad for Lord's and, in an attempt to prove he had recovered from the ailment, played in his county's Totesport League game on Sunday.

The 26-year-old bowled nine overs in Glamorgan's defeat at Essex but woke up this morning feeling further discomfort in his lower back. If Jones is to play against Bangladesh in nine days' time he will need to come through a four-day game against Hampshire that starts on Friday. Should the Welshman fail to do this Jon Lewis, the Gloucestershire fast bowler, will make his Test debut.

Jones is not the only England player who needs to prove his fitness. Graham Thorpe missed Surrey's last Championship match, and Sunday's 45-over game against Leicestershire, with a back spasm.

The 35-year-old has a history of back trouble and he will need to play in today's C&G game against Gloucestershire, along with Friday's match against Scotland, to satisfy the selectors. If Thorpe fails to shake off his injury, he is likely to be replaced by Hampshire's Kevin Pietersen.

The First Class Forum voted yesterday for a two-up, two-down promotion and relegation system in the County Championship from next season onwards.

Since two divisions were introduced in the County Championship five years ago there has been a system of three-up, three-down.

The argument for a two-up, two-down system was put forward by Kent, who believe that it will encourage more positive cricket in the County Championship.

Promotion and relegation from next season's 40-over Totesport League will also be two-up, two-down. In addition, there will be a play-off for the final promotion and relegation spot, with the team finishing third in the Second Division at home to the side coming seventh in the First Division.

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