Jones gets cap 50 years after England appearance


London (AFP)

Fifty years to the day since the start of his only England appearance, former Glamorgan batsman Alan Jones received a Test cap on Wednesday.

Although the 1970 matches between England and the Rest of the World were billed as a Test series, their status was never confirmed by the International Cricket Council and two years later the global governing body said the fixtures were unofficial.

Glamorgan's Jones, a prolific opening batsman at county level whose tally of 36,049 first-class runs is the most by anyone who has not played Test cricket, had gone from being a one-cap wonder to a no-cap wonder.

The summer of 1970 was unique in English cricket history.

England had been meant to be playing South Africa but after the Springboks' 1969/70 rugby tour had been disrupted by anti-apartheid protests, the British government effectively cancelled the cricket series on security grounds.

South Africa were replaced as tourists by a star-studded Rest of the World side captained by Garry Sobers that included several gifted South African and West Indies players.

Jones was dismissed for five and nought in the series opener at Lord's and that was the end of his England career.

But while the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cannot unilaterally change the status of the game, they decided to present Jones with official England cap number 696 on Wednesday.

Coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant the presentation ceremony took place by video link, with England captain Joe Root among those paying tribute.

As he tried on his new cap, the 81-year-old Jones said: "It fits. I'm just waiting for the helmet now.

"To represent England in a Test match at Lord's was something very special in my career and I have fond memories."

He added: "When they disregarded that full England cap it did make a difference... you didn't feel like you were a fully England player."

Jones, who has kept his original England cap, sweater, blazer and tie, said it had hurt to be dropped after just one game, adding that he felt he deserved another chance.

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves said the ECB wanted to recognise Jones's England appearance and "celebrate his remarkable career as a player, coach and administrator".

England skipper Root said it had been a "great honour" to have been part of the celebration.

Jones was up against one of the most talented teams ever assembled in 1970, with all-rounder Sobers taking six wickets for 21 runs and scoring 183 at Lord's.

"Garry Sobers said he would never have played if they weren't proper Test matches," recalled Jones.

"When you look at the Rest of the World side, it was a magnificent side and everybody playing did take the series very, very seriously."