Geraint Jones to play for Papua New Guinea
In a major coup for Cricket PNG, former England test wicket-keeper, Geraint Jones, will play for the Hebou Barramundi's in the Dubai Twenty20 World Cup qualifier in March.
Jones was born in Kundiawa in the Chimbu Province, to Welsh parents and recently contacted Cricket PNG and expressed his desire to represent PNG.
Jones was a regular wicket-keeper batsman for England between 2004 and 2006, playing 34 test matches and 49 One Day Internationals.
He may best be remembered for taking the brilliant diving catch to dismiss Michael Kasprowicz to clinch the thrilling 3rd Ashes Test by just 2 runs at Edgbaston in 2005.
Along with his successful England team-mates, Jones was awarded an MBE for his part in the 2005 Ashes triumph.
Jones took 128 catches at test level as well making a test century against New Zealand in 2004. He snared 68 catches with a highest score of 80 in the One Day arena.
Since his last England appearance, Jones has continued playing first-class cricket with a great amount of success in the English County system with Kent. His overall first class career reads very impressively. He has played a total of 126 matches and made 5,696 runs at an average of 34.10. He has made 12 centuries with a highest score of 178 and taken 382 catches and affected 25 stumpings.
As a child Jones moved to Australia where he grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland. At the age of 22, he moved to England and won a County Cricket contract with Kent in 2001. His aggressive batting and sound wicket keeping eventually caught the eye of the England selectors and he made his Test debut in 2004 versus the West Indies.
During 2006 Jones became the world-record holder for most Test innings played without having scored a duck (46 innings), which he then extended to 51.
The inclusion of Jones in the squad for the Dubai tournament is just the boost the Hebou Barramundi's need in their quest to qualify for their first ever world cup.
Jones will be a key batsman and can share the work load behind the stumps with incumbent vice-captain, Jack Vare. His experience of playing in 2 highly pressurized Ashes series will also prove invaluable.
Cricket PNG General Manager Greg Campbell was elated when Jones first made contact and expressed his willingness to play in the tournament.
"I couldn't believe it when Geraint contacted us. He is genuinely excited about coming to play and helping us achieve the dream of a world cup spot. He has played so many games at the highest level. His talent and experience will be incredibly valuable for us." said Campbell.
Jones will arrive in PNG in February and join the team for a training camp in the ACT before they embark on their historic tilt in the UAE.