Jones aims to be back in swing for India

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The Independent Online

As Michael Vaughan and company prepare to leave next week for the tour of Pakistan, Jones is the only one of the summer's 12 Ashes heroes who will not be heading for the airport, having had surgery on the injured right ankle which kept him out of the last Test against Australia. The operation to remove a bone spur was a success and Jones expects to be fit for next spring's visit to India.

Considering that England face 18 months of almost non-stop cricket from next March, some might consider an enforced rest this autumn a bonus. Jones, however, knows that the dustbowls of Pakistan would almost certainly have helped him to exploit the reverse swing with which he bamboozled Australia.

The Welshman took 18 Test wickets this summer, at the best average of all of England's bowlers, and his performances in the dry and dusty conditions at Edgbaston and Old Trafford suggested that his mastery of reverse swing could have been crucial in Pakistan.

"To miss the tour is a sickening blow," Jones said yesterday at Loughborough, where he has started his rehabilitation. "It would have been good to bowl reverse swing out there.

"I want to play as many Tests as possible but my ankle hasn't been brilliant for a while and it was time I got it right. I played in four of the five Tests in the summer but it was pretty impossible for me to play in the last one. I couldn't run."

However, having had to fight his way back in 2003 after more than a year out of the game following a horrific knee injury, Jones described his current recovery programme as "a doddle". He expects to be running within six weeks, when he will start working again with "one of my best mates", Troy Cooley, England's bowling coach.

"You never stop learning and I'm always trying to improve my bowling action, my fitness, everything I do. Troy's been massively important. You learn things from different people, but he's got everything. He works with you in the gym and he has good knowledge of biomechanics.

"I'm not going to rush back. I've got plenty of time before the India tour. I'll use the facilities here at Loughborough and at Cardiff. It will take as long as it takes. The academy here is the perfect place to come. It develops you physically, mentally and socially."

The rehabilitation programme will give Jones the chance to work with Peter Moores, who has taken over as director of the academy and yesterday revealed his plans for the future.

Moores, 42, the brains behind Sussex's County Championship triumph two years ago, has a tough act to follow. Under his predecessor, Rod Marsh, the academy played a major role in the early development of half this summer's Ashes squad, while Liam Plunkett, Jones' replacement in Pakistan, heads a battery of young pacemen who have honed their skills at Loughborough.

The tone of his presentation yesterday suggested that Moores will place a strong emphasis on science, particularly the use of video technology. Each player in the England set-up, from under-15 level through to the senior side, will be given an individual programme, based on detailed profiling of their game. "I want the academy to be the No 1 cricket resource in the world," Moores said. "It's a resource for all of Team England to use at any stage of their careers."

Having turned frequently in the past to overseas coaches - such as the Australians Marsh and Cooley and the Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher - the England and Wales Cricket Board has appointed in Moores a man steeped in county cricket. He spent 20 years at Sussex as wicketkeeper, captain, coach, cricket manager and director of cricket.

Marsh, a fellow wicketkeeper, never agreed with England's choice of Geraint Jones over Chris Read and left the panel of selectors this summer. Moores did not even mention wicketkeeping in his presentation and trod diplomatically around the subject, as he did the question of whether the academy director should also be a selector.

"It hasn't come up," Moores said. "I've just started. The winter parties have been selected and I've been kept in the loop. I've no complaints on that score."