Amy Jones – who was named Player of the Series for her innings of 91 in the 1st ODI and 80 tonight – has now won two consecutive ODI Player of the Series awards in England – the previous one coming at the end of last summer against New Zealand. With 5 half-centuries in her last 6 ODI innings, it is fair to say she is England’s most consistent player right now.
But it was not ever thus.
Having made 41 on debut in 2013, she suffered repeated failures and was eventually dropped in 2016 having not got close to that score again. When she was recalled to the ODI team in 2018 in India, in the absence of Sarah Taylor, she failed twice more, bagging ducks in the first two ODIs of that series.
She must have been in the last chance saloon when she walked out to bat in the 3rd ODI in Nagpur, but the runs finally came – 94 of them. England lost the match narrowly, but Jones was finally in business. Prior to that day, her ODI average was 18; since that day, it is currently running at 46.
Not the talent – she was always an elegant player to watch; but she so often seemed to only be able to do it when no one was actually watching – at county or in warm-ups – put in the spotlight, she seemed blinded.
Her renaissance has become a familiar story under Mark Robinson – first Tammy Beaumont, then Danni Wyatt, now Amy Jones – all underachievers inherited from the previous regime, who have been turned into achievers under Robbo’s watchful eye.
But there is also something else too – it wasn’t until Jones was able to step out from the shadow of Sarah Taylor, and take her preferred role as a keeper-batsman, that things really started to come together. Prior to this series, Jones averaged just 38 with the gloves, but just 17 without.
So perhaps the most significant thing about Jones achievement in this series is that she has succeeded without also keeping wicket – battering the Windies, but also battering any remaining doubts that she truly belongs at this level as a batsman.
With the gloves off… the gloves finally came off!
Good way of putting it Syd. I have to say Jones is one of the best players to watch bat in the women’s game at the moment. Her form has been superb and the most impressive thing is she combines the touch and timing of her wonderful stroke-play with a lot of power as well. The “Jeaumont” partnership as I call it works so well in ODIs because they have such different batting styles and bowlers cannot afford the same or even similar plans against them.
Great performance from England again, putting together a big total that was (only!) about twice what the Windies could muster… Beaumont, Jones, Knight all look in top nick and it was good to see Taylor find some form again. Highlights in the field included a superb catch from Wilson to dismiss Matthews off Cross, and some very decent offspin by Bryony Smith who gave little away – she bowled with a consistent line and length and looked hard to hit. Strange that her route into the side turned out to be via bowling, but it doesn’t really matter, if you’re playing well enough, and she’s certainly had a good start with plenty more to come from her.
Onto the T20s next week which should be very interesting, Windies could well be more competitive in that format.
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Excellent for Jones. I remember Raf confirming that, when Taylor plays, Jones’s average drops. Seems she doesn’t have that problem any more, which is very good news for England.