Jones keen to retain PNG role

Wednesday 4th April 2012

Men’s First Team

Kent wicket keeper, Geraint Jones has stated his desire to continue to play for Papua New Guinea in the years to come.

The 35 year old spent two weeks in March playing for the country of his birth in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers in Dubai – with the side finishing eighth in the sixteen team tournament.

Now back with Kent and preparing for Thursday’s Championship opener against Yorkshire at Headingley, Jones believes he will be working with PNG for some years to come: “I’ve had a good chat with PNG and there are a few things coming up. Next year there is a 50 over World Cup qualifying tournament, so that’s on the radar.

“It wasn’t just a one off and it’s something I’m looking to keep involved in and I want to keep playing for them for a good while yet.”

Papua New Guinea had mixed fortunes on the field, but finishing eighth was an achievement for a sidewhich can’t call upon all that many players, with Jones stating he was pleased with where they finished: “I had a chat with the General Manager and he said that if we’d have been offered eighth before we went, we’d have taken it. Realistically, we could have finished seventh and it was a tight game that we lost to Italy.

“Finances dictated that other teams were away touring before the tournament, where we just turned up to play. I really enjoyed it though and playing in competitive matches was good. The PNG guys played in the right spirit and it showed me what playing cricket is all about.”

Back in Canterbury, Jones has been spending the past week preparing for the new season with Kent and has felt a renewed sense of optimism about the place: “The feel around the place and the buzz is fantastic. I missed out on the Antigua trip which was a bonding session with the boys working hard, so I’ve missed out on a bit, but it won’t take long to catch up.

“Having been around for the past week, it’s a good fun environment. With the seven new signings we’ve got, along with the new Coach, we’re heading in the right direction.”

As for his own form, Jones believes his time with Papua New Guinea, combined with some action for Kent against Glamorgan in the pre-season friendly, should stand him in good stead for the start of the season: “I got some time in the middle, in the one dayer and have had a chance to keep for some good overs in the two day game.

“The ball is coming off the bat nicely, but nothing is quite like playing for real and it’ll be nice to finally get the Yorkshire game underway and see where we are at as a side.”

Geraint Jones was speaking to Steve Wolfe of KSN