|Player:||SP Jones, Mushtaq Ahmed, Sarfraz Nawaz|
|Event:||England in Pakistan 2005/06|
DateLine: 1st November 2005
Former Pakistani fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, the pioneer of reverse swing, said Tuesday that the touring England team would miss seamer Simon Jones in their upcoming Test series.
Jones, whose own mastery of the crafty technique gave him 18 wickets in England's hard fought 2-1 win over Australia in the Ashes two months ago, is missing from the Pakistan tour after suffering a knee injury.
"Without Jones, England's attack is half strength because he was the man who gave England both spirit and reverse swing in the Ashes," said Nawaz, who played 55 Tests and 45 one-day internationals for Pakistan.
Nawaz -- known here as the sultan of swing for his ability to reverse-swing the old ball -- had backed England to win before Jones was injured but now he is less sure.
"It will be tough. I had said that England would win because I felt their seamers had learnt the art of reverse swing and I thought Jones was the best, but England will miss him now," said Nawaz, 56.
England captain Michael Vaughan also admitted the loss of Jones was a blow, although he still has a strong pace attack in Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard and, of course, Andrew Flintoff -- another reverse swinger.
"Jones will be sorely missed because he was the one who fetched us wickets in the middle order when an old ball was thrown at him," Vaughan said last week on arrival in Pakistan.
However, Jones is likely to be available for the second leg of the subcontinent tour when England tour India in March next year -- another series England must win if they are to displace Australia as the world's top team.
England, who are in the second day of their three-day tour opener against Pakistan Cricket Board Patron's XI in Rawalpindi, were haunted by reverse swing as they made 256-9 declared in their first innings.
Patron's XI pacer Yasir Arafat showed what is in store for the tourists in the series against Pakistan as he reverse-swung the ball to take 4-45, while left arm pacer Najaf Shah claimed 3-58.
"England struggled against seamers in the tour opener and I am surprised Pakistan is talking of taming them through their spinners," said Nawaz, who criticised leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed's recall.
Mushtaq, who took 80 wickets for Sussex in the recently concluded English county season, was among the 16-man squad for the first two Tests and was tipped to play his first Test in two years.
"It's no big deal to get wickets in the county season," said Nawaz.
England meet Pakistan in the first of three Tests at Multan from November.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)
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