The Curious Case of Keaton Jennings

Having registered his third century of the season on Sunday, Durham’s Keaton Jennings has demolished any lingering concerns there might have been that he was some sort of one season wonder.

But what happens next for the talented 24-year-old?

Having scored 1,548 runs during the 2016 County Championship at an average of 64.5 (with seven hundreds, including one double century), Jennings was named County Championship Player of the Year by the Cricket Writers’ Club before making his Test debut in India in December – scoring a century in the 4th Test in Mumbai and a half century in Chennai a week later.

Whilst the tour as a whole may have been one to forget for England – losing heavily in four of the five Tests with the other a draw – it capped off a remarkable twelve months for the left-hander.

Where it gets interesting is what happens this summer.

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Jennings opted to stay with Durham this season despite their enforced relegation to Division Two of the County Championship and the additional points deductions in both the Royal London One Day Cup and T20 Blast.

The ECB’s somewhat overzealous punishment of Durham means the North Eastern club are essentially stuck in the second tier for at least two years (this season plus next) whilst one day success this season seems unlikely (though not impossible given Durham’s solid start in the One Day Cup…).

Given Jennings respectable start in the international arena, he is likely to remain on England’s radar for the time being – but with Alastair Cook locked in to one of the two opening positions and Haseeb Hameed (who also made his Test debut last winter) playing First Division cricket for Lancashire it would not be unfair to suggest Jennings place is far from guaranteed.

Playing in Division Two is also likely to be a contributing factor in this regard, rightly or wrongly, with the selectors taking a dim view of carting the Derbyshire and Glamorgan bowling attacks around compared to respectable efforts against teams like Yorkshire, Middlesex and Surrey.

So does Jennings stick it out with Durham in the hope of some one day success and a hat full of Division Two runs keeping him in the England frame? Or does he bid farewell to Chester-Le-Street this winter?

There would be no shortage of interested parties if Jennings did signal his intention to leave Durham, with some able to stump up substantial sums of cash should they need/want to.

Jennings appears happy at Durham, but greater ambitions may draw him away from the North East and with clubs more and more willing to make 28-day approaches the race may soon be on to lure Jennings ‘down South’.

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About Rob

Software engineer by day, Elite League Media man by night, Rob also blogs about cricket for One Stump Short, hockey for In Goal Magazine and video games for Outpost Delta as well as hosting the One Stump Short Podcast.

Posted on May 8, 2017, in County Championship, County Cricket, Domestic Cricket, Durham, England and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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