Michael Jones: Happy days if Australia want to help Scotland knock out England

Scotland opener Michael Jones would have no qualms about accepting a helping hand from Australia as they seek to oust holders England from the T20 World Cup, even offering a cheeky suggestion that they throw the ball to David Warner.

Jones’ ears pricked up as soon as he heard Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood tell a press conference it may be in his already-qualified side’s “best interests” to engineer an outcome in their final group game against the Scots that sends their Ashes rivals packing on net run-rate.

The International Cricket Council’s code of conduct expressly forbids the manipulation of results or run-rates for “strategic or tactical reasons”, punishable with a possible two-match ban for any offending captain. And while that will likely prevent any overt cooking of the numbers, Jones has made it clear he would be happy to receive an assist.

“I was watching it live actually, laughing to myself,” he said of Hazlewood’s provocative media outing.

“I watched that interview and I watched (former Australia captain) Tim Paine when he was saying they should field half a side. I’m not particularly close to them, I don’t know any of the Australian players, but it would be good if we could have a little word and sort something out.

“The rivalry between England and Australia is massive. If they want to play that way then happy days. We won’t be complaining. If they want to let David Warner open the bowling or something like that it would be pretty funny.

“It’s in the back of your mind, that you want the result any way it can come.”

The smile across Jones’ face suggested he was taking the matter in a suitably light-hearted way, echoing England head coach Matthew Mott’s belief that Hazlewood had been talking “tongue in cheek”.

In fact, as a batter with high ambitions and an impressive knock of 45 not out in the washed out game against England, he is more than ready to face Australia at full strength and full intensity. Part of him wants it.

T20 Cricket WCup England Scotland
Scotland opener Michael Jones impressed against England in Scotland’s World Cup opener (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

“At the end of the day our team wants the best result we can get, but on a personal level you want to challenge yourself against the best,” he said.

“To have the opportunity to bat against Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, then Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, that’s the best in the world. Those are the opportunities we crave as Scotland teams. You want to challenge yourself and see how far you go against those guys.

“The Australians are renowned for being extremely diligent and extremely professional. I’m absolutely certain they will come out all guns blazing like they do for every game at every tournament.

“I almost hope they do go full strength on Saturday and we can show the cricket world we’re up to the challenge.”