Jones the bat holds key to England's one-day control

If England win the Standard Bank Series, the audacious move to ask the wicketkeeper Geraint Jones to open the batting will have worked. Since audacious moves can also, however, be interpreted as cunning plans - and look what they did for Baldrick - the jury remains in deadlock.

If England win the Standard Bank Series, the audacious move to ask the wicketkeeper Geraint Jones to open the batting will have worked. Since audacious moves can also, however, be interpreted as cunning plans - and look what they did for Baldrick - the jury remains in deadlock.

Another factor may easily contribute to England's attempt to remain as ringmasters in this particular one-day circus when the second of the seven matches is played today: Baldrick may have taken over South Africa's selection panel. Cunning plans, never mind audacious moves or calculated hunches, abound.

They hastened the home side's defeat in the Test series and were evident again in the first limited-overs match. South Africa made five changes from their last match in September, including their entire middle order. The most bizarre, the epitome of Baldrickian influence this, was Adam Bacher, who was recalled after seven years because of his performances as an opener in provincial cricket, batted at four, and played a shot which would have shamed a No 11.

Graeme Smith, the captain, who has to work with what the selectors offer, invariably puts on a bullish face and yesterday described press speculation about selectorial disagreement as "a load of crap".

The usual conclusion to draw from this reaction is that there must have been something in the original allegation, but Smith said: "The selectors do have the final call, at the end of the discussion process that takes place. I'm happy with the way things are being dealt with. Haroon Lorgat, the convener, is very professional and we trust him to do the job."

But South Africa's captain conceded the strain. "I enjoy the captaincy but when you're not doing as well there's a lot more pressure on you, a lot more people to give you advice and a lot more things to think about. But it's important to know there's a process in place, a plan that you're going somewhere. Things get thrown round when you lose. Everyone has different opinions on what needs to be done."

England have won both their previous matches against South Africa at Goodyear Park. In the first of those nine years ago, just before the World Cup, they also had an experimental opener, Phillip DeFreitas. It lasted two games before the drawing board was summoned again.

Jones has been promised a longer run, although he understandably rejected any comparisons with Australia's Adam Gilchrist. "He's a fantastic striker of the ball. There's only one Gilchrist," said Jones. "If I try to live with him I'll get into a bit of trouble. I've just got to play my way. I like going into bat after I've kept, watching the ball for 50 overs, and it's a spot that's suited to my game, cutting and pulling, putting away the boundaries in the first 15 overs."

It is further evidence of England's policy to attack early on. "I've got to be wary not to get too caught up in it," said Jones. He also recognises that the vagaries of his wicketkeeping, which was sometimes scruffy during the Test series (he dropped two catches in seven balls at the Wanderers), can change the taut scoreboards of one-dayers.

"If I haven't had a great time with the gloves, I can go out there and prove it with the bat. To see them not going in is a big disappointment, but I've got another job to keep the team going so I can't dwell on it too much." You hope for Jones's sake that this is all a distinguished stratagem and not the other thing.

South Africa (from): G C Smith (capt), A M Bacher, N Boje, M V Boucher (wkt), A B de Villiers, H H Gibbs, A J Hall, J M Kallis, J M Kemp, A Nel, M Ntini, S M Pollock, A G Prince, J Rudolph.

England (from): M P Vaughan (capt), K Ali, J M Anderson, G J Batty, I R Bell, P D Collingwood, A F Giles, D Gough, S J Harmison, M J Hoggard, G O Jones (wkt), K P Pietersen, V S Solanki, A J Strauss, M E Trescothick, A G B Wharf.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes