Simon Jones: My 11th one-day game ever - and something to build on

One-day cricket and myself are strangers, so it was a pretty unfamiliar sensation to make my international debut in Bulawayo yesterday. It got to be odder still when Michael Vaughan asked me to bowl at the death of the Zimbabwe innings.

Bowling at the end of a limited-overs innings is one of the toughest tasks a bowler can face (OK, bowling to Brian Lara on a flat deck at Antigua is probably up there as well), and here I was, a bowler who knew next to nothing about bowling in a one-day match at any stage. In a seven-year professional career I had played all of 10 one-day matches before yesterday.

Eight of those were for Glamorgan, the other two were for England A on the tour of India earlier this year. It continues to be a mystery to me why my county have not given me more opportunities in the short game so far, and they have never really explained their thinking to me.

So it was that I lined up in Bulawayo yesterday. I was nervous, but not quite as apprehensive as I had been on my first Test appearance. I knew that I had to keep it straight but still try to take wickets - but then that always has to be my role as bowler.

Bizarrely, I felt a little jaded. Maybe I had overdone it in the nets on Friday when I worked up a head of steam. It was completely encouraging that the pitch turned out to be smashing for batting. On Friday it had looked green, which had given us bowlers reason to hope for some movement. Then the groundsman shaved off every blade of grass before the match. Sneaky!

I was moderately pleased with how it went. The ball that gave me my first one-day international wicket - there had only been four in all previously - was a pretty good nut. It is true that Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe's opener, might have been a bit stuck in his crease, but the ball was on off stump and had to be played.

One of my overs, it is true, yielded eight runs. That puts you under a bit of pressure the next over. But I have been working pretty hard in the nets with Duncan Fletcher, Matthew Maynard and Darren Gough. I was much more confident of my accuracy than I would have been even two years ago when I made my Test debut. Goughie, who was rested for the game to give me an opportunity, is always there with decent advice, and after I had bowled the last over he gave me a hint I shall remember.

The last ball of the innings was driven for four, and England's leading one-day wicket-taker advised me that it would have been better to bowl a bouncer rather than an attempted yorker.

This was an invaluable work-out, and while it was significant because it was my England one-day debut, it could also have a bearing on my future on this tour. Bowling in the middle is always more useful than bowling in the nets.

Enough about me. England played as clinically as we were expected to do. Zimbabwe put up a serviceable total and at the start of the innings they batted pretty well, taking a risk-free approach. Stuart Matsikenyeri particularly caught the eye, as Elton Chigumbura had done in the first match of the series. He was able to trust the pitch and hit through the line of the ball.

Our fielding stopped them from going on to something more impressive than their eventual total of 238. We had managed quite a few direct hits before we got two run-outs in the middle of the innings. True, the Zimbabwe batsmen contributed to their own dismissals, but this was also reward for the work that the coach has insisted we put in. In fact, Zimbabwe have acquitted themselves pretty well, even though they are 3-0 down in the series with a game to play.

It has been said (repeatedly said, actually) that the Zimbabwe team are suffering from inexperience, but in truth their total of caps for yesterday's match came to 321 while England's was 280. And nobody could have been as wet behind the ears as me.

Flat pitch or not, Vikram Solanki's innings was a special effort, showing the cleanest of strikers in all his glory. He got it in his mind to step down the wicket to the seamers and, believe me, that rattles you. I would have hated it if someone had done it to me.

I have been selected for today's final match. We want to win 4-0, then go on to the big business of the winter in South Africa.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
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

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes