Alan Jones capped by England - at last (Ed Bevan)

17 Jun 2020 | Cricket

This article was written by Ed Bevan on behalf of the ECB Reporters Network

One of Glamorgan’s greatest ever players, Alan Jones, was belatedly awarded his England cap at the age of 81 on Wednesday.

Current England Test captain Joe Root joined a virtual presentation to award Jones his cap exactly 50 years to the day he made his sole England appearance against The Rest of the World at Lord’s.

Jones was denied his cap, however, following an ICC decision two years later to revoke Test status for the match.

A left-handed opener, Jones holds the record for scoring the most first-class runs without playing an official Test match, and while that status remains the ECB decided to award Jones cap 696 – the next available after Zak Crawley’s Test debut last November.

“I am so grateful to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen. I am also very surprised and never thought it would happen,” Jones said after receiving his cap.

“Fifty years is a long time, and I never expected this to come now. Being England’s No 696 will stay with me forever now.”

Jones, and his opening partner Brian Luckhurst, walked through the Long Room at Lord’s 50 years ago to open the innings against the best players of that era, following the cancellation of the proposed South Africa tour due to protests from anti-apartheid demonstrators.

Jones was enjoying a productive season with Glamorgan that summer and was on course to complete 1000 runs for the tenth year- a landmark he was to achieve for 23 successive seasons – a Glamorgan record.

He scored over 41,000 runs during his career, and after retiring was appointed head coach in 1983, a position he held for 15 years and more recently he was president of Glamorgan for three years. 

Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris also joined the virtual presentation alongside former England captain, and Jones’s county teammate, Tony Lewis.

“The whole of Wales will be thrilled that one of our greatest sporting sons has had his England appearance recognised by ECB,” Morris said.

“Alan’s record for Glamorgan was remarkable. He scored 34,056 first-class runs, passed 1,000 runs in a season on 23 consecutive occasions and passed 50 on 250 occasions.

“These club landmarks will never be beaten and stand alongside the records of some of the very best players who have graced our great game.

“For more than 60 years, Alan has been a player, captain, coach, and President of a club that has been close to his heart, and a mentor and hero to its players past and present.

“He has had a profound impact on cricket at all levels throughout Wales and everyone will celebrate with Alan and his family in receiving a recognition he so richly deserves.”

Test captain Root revealed he would love to welcome Jones into the England dressing room once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

“Hearing and reading about Alan’s achievements in cricket has been inspiring, so it’s a great honour to have been part of his celebration today,” Root said.

“Being selected to represent your country is a huge moment in any cricketer’s career, and while Alan’s time in the team was brief, I hope he has retained fond memories of the match over the last 50 years.

“The cap makes you part of a very special family and I hope it’s not too long before we can welcome Alan to an England match to congratulate him in person.”

It was to Jones’ dismay that during his sole England appearance at Lord’s – he would later admit that nerves had got the better of him - he was dismissed for 0 and 5 in both innings by the same combination, caught by wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer bowled Mike Procter.

Still, he had represented England, something he had strived for, since making his first-class debut in 1960.

However, two years later Jones received the devastating news that the ICC had stripped the series of Test status, with the left-handed opener denied his solitary cap.

There was widespread sympathy from the cricket fraternity, especially as the Rest of The World squad was the strongest ever assembled for a representative game.

It included Gary Sobers and Clive Lloyd from the West Indies, Barry Richards and Procter from South Africa, Engineer from India, and it was also an insult to them that the series had been devalued.

The England cap, sweater and blazer were never worn by Jones again, but now with his England number 696, he is now rightly recognised as an international cricketer.

And if asked by one of the many young cricketers he continues to coach throughout the winter months “Did you ever play for England Mr Jones?”, his answer will be “Yes I did.”