Special memories for Jones as Afridi returns

Simon Jones
Simon Jones
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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Simon Jones has bid Hampshire a fond farewell after ending his two-year stay with the club to rejoin Glamorgan.

But the county has been boosted by the return of all-rounder Shahid Afridi to play in the Royals’ Friends Life t20 campaign for a second successive season.

Former England star Jones has signed a two-year deal with the Welsh county, having first joined them as a 16-year-old.

It ends a spell at the Rose Bowl, which saw Jones take 37 wickets in 22 matches, despite suffering from a long-term knee injury.

And the 2005 Ashes-winning bowler admitted it was a wrench to leave the county.

He said: “I’ve got very mixed emotions on leaving the Rose Bowl. I mean, what a place to play your cricket!

‘It’s not just the surroundings or the playing area, it’s everything that is the Rose Bowl; the office staff, supporters, playing staff and ground staff – they all have special memories for me.

‘It’s only been two years but I feel I settled in and thoroughly enjoyed my time.

‘Rod Bransgrove is a special human being, whom I have immense respect and admiration for, especially for his love of the game and all he gave to bring Test cricket to the south.

‘I feel sad to leave but need to be playing and not spectating.Giles White has been a wonderful support to me always and I am grateful to him.

‘To the lads I say good luck, enjoy and have lots of success. Hopefully I’ll see them next season.’

Hampshire manager White said: ‘It’s been a pleasure to have Simon with us over the past two years.

‘He has been a model professional and shown a fantastic attitude in all that he has done.’ 

Afridi, meanwhile, is expected to be available for the whole 2012 t20 campaign as the Royals’ second overseas player alongside Australian batsman Simon Katich.

And the all-rounder, who took 17 wickets in 10 matches last season, is determined to make up for this summer’s heart-breaking Finals Day defeat to Somerset.

Afridi said: ‘I’m very pleased to be returning to Hampshire to complete some unfinished business!

‘The semi-final loss is something I aim to put right and I am sure with the backing of all the boys, it is something we will achieve.

‘I would like to thank Rod Bransgrove, Giles White and all the staff at the club for making me feel like one of the family last season and also for sticking by me in a tough situation.

‘Hence, when the offers came in for the new season, there was only one club as far as me and my manager were concerned.’