Simon Jones praises Kevin Pietersen guidance

By Peter ShuttleworthBBC Sport Wales
Kevin Pietersen and Simon Jones
Kevin Pietersen and Simon Jones helped inspire England to an Ashes win in 2005

Simon Jones has thanked good friend Kevin Pietersen for helping persuade him against retiring from cricket.

The 32-year-old's career has been dogged by serious knee and ankle injuries and Jones underwent further career-saving surgery two years ago.

England's 2005 Ashes winner revealed he considered quitting the sport "many a time" but Jones is now looking forward to returning to Glamorgan.

"Kev has been good to me, people like him have kept me going," Jones said.

"Many a time I have thought about retiring as the nature of the injury is tough to come back from.

"It has finished many cricketers. Andrew Flintoff pulled the plug on cricket, Mark Butcher did the same as did Michael Vaughan so it is a tough thing to come back from.

"But I'm a stubborn character and I don't like things beating me - and I'm getting there now so hoping the perseverance will play off."

Pietersen topped the batting averages as England won an Ashes series for the first time in 18 years while Jones topped England's bowling averages, taking 18 wickets at an average of 21.00 runs.

Pietersen and Jones went on holiday together following that memorable Ashes win and Pietersen was a guest at Jones' wedding last week when Jones married long-time partner Justine.

"Kev has been brilliant, I have kept in touch with him a lot," said the Welshman.

"A lot of people misunderstand him as a person but I know him very well and he is a genuine honest bloke.

"It was tough but he always told me to keep believing.

"I'm also lucky I had Justine and my two boys. When I was younger, cricket was everything but now my children come first and a bad day at the office is tough but there's a bigger picture.

"Charlie and Harvey rely on me so I can't take my work home. I've been blessed as they've all kept me focused."

Jones' injury problems began when he ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in his right knee in the first Test of the 2002 Ashes Tour of Australia.

His 2005 Ashes heroics were cut short by an ankle injury that meant he missed the final Test and wrecked his 2006 season where he played just three matches.

Jones left Glamorgan for Worcestershire in 2007 but his knee troubles and more surgeryexternal-link forced him to miss the entire 2009 season before he joined Hampshire for the 2010 season.

Jones, who has not played international cricket for almost seven years, played just twice in 2010 but the long-time patient of renowned American knee surgeon Richard Steadman played 22 games in 2011.

Now he insists his knee is "as good as it has ever felt" as he looks forward to a return "home" to Glamorgan where he has signed a two-year contract to play one-day and Twenty20 games.

"The nature of the injury it takes two years to heal," said Jones.

"I've had a couple of tough seasons and it was hard to keep on going.

"I'm very stubborn and like to prove people wrong. A few people had a little dart at me coming back to Glamorgan and whether it is a step back and I'm thinking 'I'll prove you wrong.'

"I've not lost my ability through the injuries. I got up to 94mph last season and not many boys can do that."

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