Jennings could be key man on Sri Lanka tour
LANCASHIRE’S Keaton Jennings has been headhunted to open the batting for England on their forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka, according to Graham Onions.
The Red Rose opener hasn’t played Test cricket since the trip to the West Indies last February.
He had a steady season for the county last year, helping them to the Specsavers County Championship Second Division title and promotion.
Jennings’ Test career, however, stalled as he was found out against fast bowling.
However, he is seen as one of the best players of spin in the country.
And with the Lankan wickets expected to turn, the former Durham players has been regularly touted as a replacement for the injured Rory Burns for the two Test series, which runs from March 19-31.
Jennings has already been to India this winter – which is where he scored his maiden Test century in Mumbai on his debut in 2016.
And he has shown he can play on the sub-continent, having scored an unbeaten 146 against Sri Lanka on England’s last tour there in November 2018.
He heads to Australia next month as vice captain of the England Lions tour, and Lancashire teammate Onions believes it has always been in the selectors’ minds to take Jennings to Sri Lanka.
He said: “I think he is a fine player, he has proven in the sub-continent he can play.
“He has just been to India and he is off to Australia now for the Lions tour.
“I think he has been headhunted to play that role in Sri Lanka.
“He reverse sweeps very well, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pitches are very, very dry and flat there.
“England played well the last time they went there, but I think they will go down the Keaton Jennings route.”
Jennings is one of three Lancashire players in the England Lions squad, with fast bowling duo Richard Gleeson and Saqib Mahmood set to join him for three four-day fixtures against a Cricket Australia XI, New South Wales XI and a floodlit match against Australia ‘A’ at the MCG. Gleeson is also included for the white ball fixtures, with Mahmood due to be with the main England squad during that time for the ODI series in South Africa.
Graham Onions on Keaton Jennings
Keaton Jennings in action against the West Indies last year