One of the few really fast English bowlers of recent times, Simon Jones was on the international scene for just four years and spent one-and-a-half of those out injured after a horrific knee injury fielding in the 2002-03 Brisbane Test. Jones speaks to Inside Cricket on the injury and his recovery.
Talk us through that horrific fielding injury at the Gabba?
The previous warm up game was at the Allan Border Field, where the outfield was like glass. When you slid to stop and pick up the ball, you just kept going. It was like a bowling green. Before the first Test, we only had an hour’s fielding practice on the Gabba outfield, a few catches and getting used to the environment. We hadn’t been told anything about the sand in the outfield and I just assumed, Test ground, it’ll be perfect. I got through the first session, got Justin Langer, a vital player for them. Bowled well, felt good.
After lunch, I just ran after a ball, to the boundary, regulation. I slid and soon as my left knee hit the floor, I thought I’m in trouble here. I stopped, all my weight went over onto my straight right leg. I felt everything go. I immediately knew my tour was over. Felt like someone had stuck a knife in my knee and twisted it.
How could you have avoided it?
I put my heart and soul into everything I do, at county or Test level. So put in the same situation I may even do the same thing now. Advice I would give to fielders is make sure you do your research on the outfield, as they can vary a lot. Make sure you listen to your coaches advice on technique and be aware of your own limitations.
Were the injuries you picked up later in your career related to that injury?
No, I messed my left knee up in India in 2006. It was the last day of a warm up game and the ground staff hadn’t filled the foot holes in properly. The foot holes were quite deep, I landed on the outside of one of them, my knee buckled in and I tore the cartilage off the bone.
I never got muscle or wear-and-tear injuries. These were freakish accidents. If I’d avoided those situations, I’d still be playing now.