'Caught in injury hell but I'll keep plugging away'

SO, crippling injuries have sadly taken their toll on Andrew Flintoff&rsquo;s Test career, but for former England team-mate Simon Jones, the battle goes on.<br /><br />The Welsh-born paceman played a starring role in the 2005 Ashes success, but has been ruled out of Test action ever since after suffering a plethora of ankle and knee problems.<br /><br />While Flintoff now plans to put his feet up during Test season in the future, Jones is determined to make up for lost time in putting his injury hell behind him and re-launching his Test career.<br /><br />Jones took 18 wickets in the 2005 series at an average of 21.00, and was pencilled in for a dream return to this year&rsquo;s squad until a recurrence of his troublesome knee injury required further surgery, thus ruling him out of the rest of Worcestershire&rsquo;s season.<br /><br />The 30-year-old looked a forlorn figure in the stands at Sophia Gardens last week as his England team-mates walked out against Australia for the first Ashes Test in his hometown Cardiff.<br /><br />But the occasion has now given Jones extra incentive to return to action next season and maybe even reclaim his place in the England side for the 2011 Ashes Down Under.<br /><br />&ldquo;Obviously it would have been nice to have played in this Ashes series, but unfortunately that did not happen,&rdquo; Jones told City.A.M. &ldquo;The decision to rest until the end of the season was more of a precautionary measure to give me the best chance of making a full recovery for next season. Now, it&rsquo;s a case of keeping positive. I&rsquo;ve got really good people around me and I trust my surgeon implicitly, so am really confident the way things are going.<br /><br />&ldquo;Playing in this Ashes series would have been fantastic, but I&rsquo;m only 30, and I feel I have five years left in me. If anything, the injury has increased my cricketing life as I&rsquo;ve had plenty of rest these last few seasons.&rdquo;<br /><br />Jones admits it was hard watching his ex-England colleagues turn out for the historic first Ashes Test in the Welsh capital, but said he was still choked by the occasion. &ldquo;I was sat in my friend&rsquo;s hospitality box with my girlfriend Justine and, to be honest, I didn&rsquo;t really know how I was going to feel when the lads walked out,&rdquo; he explained.<br /><br />&ldquo;I was very envious because I know how they feel. It&rsquo;s a feeling you will never, ever forget as it is the highest level you can play.<br /><br />&ldquo;It would have been unbelievable to play an Ashes Test in Cardiff as it was my home for 14 years. The crowd are pretty special down there and they really warmed to the occasion. But as envious as I was I knew there was nothing I could have done.&rdquo;<br /><br />Despite England&rsquo;s struggle to earn a draw in Cardiff, Jones believes the side has what it takes to repeat their 2005 success and reclaim the Ashes urn. &ldquo;To win a game of cricket you&rsquo;ve got to take 20 wickets and we&rsquo;ve got the bowlers to do that,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;Fred Flintoff is key, if we can keep him fit, look after him and not overbowl him, he can win you games. If we can do that, then I can see another 2-1.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>&bull;</strong> Simon Jones was on hand to coach 60 Wiltshire school children as part of the Friends Provident Chance to Shine Festival.