Former SA U19 captain Keaton Jennings says he’s ready for the sledging when he bats for England in the first Test at Lord’s.
The 25-year-old son of former Proteas coach Ray moved to England in 2011. After a prolific season with Durham last term, he earned his first call-up to the England squad for the fourth Test in place of the injured Haseeb Hameed. He proceeded to score a century on debut, and following a disappointing run of form by Hameed, Jennings has elevated himself to the top of the order alongside Alastair Cook for the Test series against his country of birth.
The Proteas are no strangers to facing their former counterparts, with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Andrew Strauss all having enjoyed successful Test careers. Jennings is just the latest, and he expects to cop plenty of abuse, something which he will look to thrive off.
‘I’m sure there will be a bit of abuse flying around,’ Jennings told The Sun.
‘I suppose that’s expected because of where I’ve grown up. But I’ll love the challenge of being in that cooker, getting abused.
‘I’m sure it will be in Afrikaans, which I probably won’t understand, but it will be really special to play South Africa, especially at Lord’s.’
It’s a bit closer to home for Jennings than the South Africans who have played for England before him, for he captained the SA U19 side as recently as 2010. Quinton de Kock was in that side, and they went to school together at KES. While he admitted that they haven’t spoken much to each other in the years that followed, he’s expecting a fair amount of chirps behind the stumps.
‘Quinton was a sensational player ever since I was 13. He was very driven, very clinical in the way he went about trying to achieve success in cricket. He hit the ball cleaner than most other guys,’ Jennings told ESPNCricinfo last week.
‘It’ll be good to see him again and play against him, bringing up old-school chirps that he used to throw at me – and I will throw a couple at him, which will be good fun.’
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