Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Ashes favourite Simon Jones. I picked his brains about that famous series in 2005, his new book The Test and England’s chances against Australia this summer.
We also asked him for his thoughts on Kevin Pietersen, who has remained a good friend of Simon’s since that iconic Ashes series ten years ago. He had some interesting things to say, not least because he’s mates with Andrew Strauss too.
You can hear the full interview below on our fledgling YouTube channel.
I won’t go into too much detail in this post – you’ll have to listen to the interview – but Simon thinks English cricket is in a good place at the moment. He’s hopeful that this summer’s Ashes will be close and England will compete well.
He also makes some interesting observations about that brilliant 2005 England side and what made it so special. After hearing all the negative things about the dressing room in recent years, it’s good to reminisce about a time when the players got on famously.
When it comes to KP, Simon is generally supportive of his old mate. He says he has ‘immense respect’ for Pietersen and calls him ‘a true friend’ in the acknowledgements section of his book. The term ‘fruit fly’ was obviously conspicuous by its absence.
Simon’s book itself is well worth a read. It tells the story of the 2005 Ashes from inside the dressing room, with chapters about his life and career interspersed between accounts of the individual test matches.
Obviously the chapters about the Ashes are always fun to read – I never tire of watching and reading about those famous matches – but the parts of the book I found most interesting were the one’s discussing Simon’s injury woes.
The book really conveys the frustration and misery that serious injuries cause sportsmen. It’s not just the maddening inability to play, but also the mental scars and the professional and financial insecurities that result.
Simon obviously spent a long time getting himself fit, playing through niggling injuries, and then suffering further debilitating setbacks. Did you know that he played through considerable pain in 2005 too?
Overall one gets the impression of a hugely talented, determined young man, who suffered incredible professional hardships and never really fulfilled his considerable promise as a result.
Yet the overriding message is undoubtedly a positive one: being part of such a remarkable Ashes winning team made all the bad days and sheer bad luck worthwhile.
Simon Jones’s The Test is available to buy now. He’s also appearing at the Nottingham Playhouse on 8th July to talk about The Greatest Ashes Series of All Time. The event is being chaired by BBC Radio Nottingham presenter, John Holmes.