Skipper reveals Ashes hero is a wanted man

Hampshire's Simon Jones, left, and skipper Dominic Cork

Hampshire's Simon Jones, left, and skipper Dominic Cork

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Dominic Cork confirmed Simon Jones is attracting interest from several counties as Hampshire consider letting him out on loan.

The former England Test star was linked with a move to his former county Glamorgan this week as his frustration grows at his lack of opportunities at the Rose Bowl.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the Welsh county had made an approach.

And last night unconfirmed reports suggested a deal had been struck which would see Jones return to the Swalec Stadium until July 20.

But his Hampshire skipper told BBC Radio Solent there are other counties in for him as well.

Cork said: ‘It’s not just Glamorgan who are in for him.

‘A lot of counties would love to have Simon Jones on loan but he is a massive part of our side.

‘At times he doesn’t quite get into the side but he’s a professional who wants to play all the time and I can understand that.

‘No deal is done yet and he could stay with us.

‘We can’t say he will be at Glamorgan next week because he could be staying at Hampshire.’

Jones is desperate to play more cricket having come back from a career-threatening knee injury.

He was again left out of the side last night in Cardiff as just six balls of the t20 clash against the Dragons was possible before heavy rain saw the game abandoned.

But while the 2005 Ashes hero appears to be edging towards the exit door, Shahid Afridi is ready for his long-awaited Hampshire debut.

He is in the frame to face Essex on Thursday in the next t20 fixture after his no objection certificate was received by the Rose Bowl, as expected, yesterday.

The Pakistan all-rounder has been back in his homeland attempting to resolve a dispute after an alleged breach of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s code of conduct saw his clearance revoked.

But thankfully an agreement has now been reached and the Royals have confirmed Afridi has been cleared to play in the club’s remaining t20 fixtures.

A statement read: ‘Hampshire Cricket is delighted to confirm the club has received a formal no objection certificate which allows Friends Life t20 overseas signing, Shahid Afridi, to take part in the rest of the tournament.

‘The Pakistani all-rounder will be available for the Royals’ t20 clash at Chelmsford against the Essex Eagles on Thursday.’

Cork was delighted at the news of Afridi’s arrival, with another quality player to call upon.

But it makes competition for places even more intense.

The Hampshire captain said: ‘It’s massive.

‘He’s a world class international player and he will make a difference.

‘All the guys are looking forward to it. It’s a great boost for us and it pushes other players to perform.’

Hampshire, however, must quickly switch their attentions to the County Championship clash at Worcestershire, starting today, as they bid to secure a first four-day victory of the season.

While the fixture list is not ideal, Cork knows his men need a win to pull away from relegation trouble.

He said: ‘It’s just the way the fixtures are. I’m not a fan of it but it is what it is and we have to be ready for it.

‘We’re bottom of the table so we need to win.

‘Hopefully we can take the confidence from the Friends Life t20 competition into that game.’

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