BY GIDEON BROOKS
DAILY EXPRESS (UK)
With 10 ewes ready to deliver, the nights over the coming month could be long ones at their eight-acre farm near Sandwich, Kent and, as he pointed out with a laugh, it is not really a one-person job.
Particularly given there are chickens and a horse to look after too.
But at 35, the prospect of adding a notable postscript to his cricket career by helping the country of his birth qualify for the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka in September is, he believes on balance, worth it.
Even if that means an extra few quid for presents in Dubai duty free on the way home.
“The wife is not best pleased about the timing but she understands how serious I am about it and how realistic a chance they have. They are by no means a Mickey Mouse outfit,” he said.
“My understanding is that they have a group of young guys coming through who are really talented and that is starting to show in results. They are 19th in the world and rising.”
Jones, who was born to Welsh teacher parents in PNG and lived there until he was six, qualified for their T20 squad four years after playing his last match for England, in the Ashes in December 2006.
He does not remember too much about his formative years there aside from mangos growing in the back garden and houses on stilts in the water on the seafront in the capital Port Moresby.
But when contacted about the possibility of playing when his four-year exclusion period was up since his last England cap he jumped at the chance.
“It started with a chat with the guy who was running PNG cricket on the Lord’s balcony before a T20 game against Middlesex,” he said. “Right from the start I was interested.”
Whether PNG are improving enough to sneak one of the two places on offer for the main event in seven months is far from certain, but the inclusion of Kent captain and wicketkeeper Jones certainly shortens those odds.
“The likes of Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland and Holland will be favourites but we get into that next group behind,” said Jones. “I would love to cause an upset and get pretty close.”