Keaton con­fi­dent he can flour­ish at Lancs

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Gra­ham Hard­cas­tle

KEATON Jen­nings is hop­ing his move to Lan­cashire can take his game to “new heights”.

Jen­nings has made the move from Durham on a four-year deal, swap­ping the North East for the North West and one Emi­rates spon­sored ground for an­other.

The left-handed opener made six Test ap­pear­ances for Eng­land from early De­cem­ber through to early Au­gust, scor­ing 294 runs.

Un­for­tu­nately, he was un­able to build upon a de­but hun­dred against In­dia in Mum­bai and, iron­i­cally, made his fi­nal ap­pear­ance to date against his na­tive South Africa at Old Traf­ford.

Ear­lier this week, the 25-yearold was back at Old Traf­ford speak­ing about life with the Red Rose fol­low­ing seven sea­sons with Durham.

“I was re­ally ex­cited when I walked through the gates as a Lan­cashire player,” said Jen­nings.

“You have to trust the peo­ple who have ad­vised you through­out your life for 25 years, and it is the right time for me to make the move.

“I’m ex­cited to work with Glen Chap­ple. I re­mem­ber fac­ing him as a player and think­ing ‘this guy can re­ally play’. So, as a bats­man, I’m look­ing for­ward to pick­ing his brain. He was a fan­tas­tic crick­eter, and from what I have heard from the lads al­ready he is great be­ing in charge too.

“The chal­lenge of cricket stays the same. As a bats­man, you are fac­ing a ball, try­ing to hit it the same way. But now this is a new en­vi­ron­ment and chal­lenge. Hope­fully it will kick me on to new heights.”

For now, Jen­nings will put Lan­cashire life to the back of his mind.

He flies back to South Africa for a hol­i­day with his fam­ily this week­end be­fore re­turn­ing to Eng­land to link up with the Lions.

His next step on the road back to Eng­land’s Test team sees him travel to Aus­tralia with the Lions to shadow the Ashes squad next month, with new county col­leagues Alex Davies, Liam Liv­ing­stone and Saqib Mah­mood ac­com­pa­ny­ing him Down Un­der.

“It is a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity, and to work with Andy Flower and Gra­ham Thorpe, peo­ple I ad­mire hugely,” he said. “They are fan­tas­tic peo­ple.”

Jen­nings, a man with cap­taincy ex­pe­ri­ence with the Lions and for Durham, has played 93 times at first-class level, scor­ing 5,345 runs.

The vast ma­jor­ity of those runs have come as an opener, although he started his ca­reer with Gauteng in 2011 as a num­ber three.

He has been mooted as a pos­si­ble to fill that po­si­tion in Eng­land’s Test team, while he may also have to bat there for Lan­cashire given the re­cent suc­cess for Davies and Haseeb Hameed.

Still, he ad­mit­ted: “From be­ing five, I have al­ways opened.

“I en­joy the chal­lenge, the mess­ing with your head it does at times. I have a pref­er­ence – but it’s a team game, and it’s what is best needed for the team. You want to win tro­phies to­gether.”

Lan­cashire’s first choice top four next sea­son, in what­ever or­der, will be Jen­nings, Davies, Hameed and Liv­ing­stone. They are all on Eng­land’s radar.

“It is an impressive top four,” he said. “Hope­fully we can grow as four young guys.

“You need to score runs for your county to be con­sid­ered to play for Eng­land. So it is all about putting in those match-win­ning per­for­mances for Lancs to get recog­nised.”

And on the de­ci­sion to leave Durham, he added: “I owe them a lot.

“There was a lot of talk about me mov­ing here last win­ter, but I loved my last sea­son with Durham.

“There are some great peo­ple in there, and some of my best mates are in that dress­ing room, guys who I will have be­side me at the al­tar when it comes to me get­ting mar­ried.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

Step­ping up: Eng­land’s Keaton Jen­nings has made the move from Durham to Di­vi­sion One Lan­cashire

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