Aaron Jones on his 94*: ‘Hope it opens the eyes of those who don’t know me or USA cricket’

Aaron Jones on his 94*: ‘Hope it opens the eyes of those who don’t know me or USA cricket’

USA batter Aaron Jones hoped that his knock in the T20 World Cup 2024 match against Canada “opens eyes of some people around the world” that he is “good enough” to play T20s.
Jones struck an unbeaten 94, the second-highest individual score on T20 World Cup debut, after walking in at 42 for 2 in the seventh over, when USA’s target of 195 seemed a step too far. But not only did the co-hosts end up getting there but they did so with seven wickets and 14 balls to spare.

“Sometimes as a cricketer, you could go a bit under the radar if you have a few low scores,” Jones said. “I always back myself and know that I am capable of performing at every level. [I am] happy that I came out on top and won the game for USA. Hope it opens the eyes of some people around the world that I am good enough to play T20 cricket.

“I believe in myself, I work hard and I just use [criticism] as motivation. I know that I’m good enough to play at the highest level, and whenever given the opportunity, I’ll do my best for sure. When I went out to bat tonight, I just saw it as another game to fight for me and bring my team as close as possible to the line, and if we get as close as possible to the line and over the line, it’s great for the team.”

The innings from Jones in front of a buzzing home crowd at the Grand Prairie Stadium, Dallas, Texas, came at a crucial time for Jones. He was part of Seattle Orcas in the inaugural Major League Cricket, USA’s T20 league competition, but was released and not selected by any of the teams in the MLC draft earlier this year. An additional draft will be held on June 16 for teams to complete their squads. His place in the T20I side was also under scrutiny.

“When I wasn’t selected in the Major League, I just took it as a stepping stone in the journey,” he said. “I would have loved to get drafted, so it goes sometimes. Hopefully tonight’s innings will probably open the eyes of those who don’t know me or USA cricket. We have great players here and that we have a lot of talent here and are willing to play at the highest level for sure.”

Jones was involved in a 131-run third-wicket partnership off just 58 balls with Andries Gous, who scored a 46-ball 65. When they got together, the Canada fast bowlers had their tails up; when their partnership ended, USA were in sight of a famous win.

“When I went out to bat, I told Gous, ‘right now we are in a spot of bother’,” Jones said. “If we want to win the game, we got to be aggressive, we got to be positive. Either we go down, die hard and we get bowled out for whatever score, or we try to get the score. We want to be fearless, we want to be positive, we want to play smart cricket. In being fearless, we want to have good shot selection as well. If you know you don’t sweep, don’t sweep. If you know you don’t use your feet, don’t use your feet, but be aggressive regardless.”

Is this his best knock for USA?

“It’s up there, to be honest,” Jones said. “Probably the best knock for me as a player for USA, or maybe it can come second to the hundred I scored when we gained ODI status. This one is special because it is a World Cup and we know Canada are our rivals, we are playing the first game of the World Cup and everybody’s watching us.”

USA next play Pakistan at the same venue on Thursday, and Jones said that they will continue to play fearless cricket against them as well as against India in ten days’ time.

“We just want to keep winning as much as possible, of course we can’t win every single game for the rest of our lives,” he said. “I don’t think our plan [for the rest of the tournament] is going to change much. We want to play fearless cricket, we want to play hard cricket, we want to play smart cricket. We are going into the Pakistan game with the same mindset. We want to play fearless cricket, regardless of who we play against.”

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