Four years after committing himself to England, Keaton Jennings received the coveted call-up to the Three Lions Test squad.
Jennings, son of Ray Jennings, who coached the SA Under 19s to a World Cup title in 2014, replaces the injured Haseeb Hameed for the last two Tests of the India tour. England have a five-day break before the fourth Test, assembling in Mumbai on December 5.
Before that, though, the gritty Durham opener will make his debut for England Lions against United Arab Emirates in Dubai on Thursday.
Jennings, 24, made his Durham debut in 2012 and was the leading run-scorer in the 2016 County Championship season with 1 548 runs at an average of 64, which led to him sweeping a host of awards and earning a spot in the England Lions squad.
He made his first-class debut for Gauteng against Free State in December 2011 aged 19, but has British citizenship from his mother, who comes from Sunderland. He was the SA Under 19 captain on the tour to England in 2011.
Back in 2012, after a brilliant showing in the 2nd XI, Jennings made an immediate impact for Durham’s 1st XI. He said at the time:
‘There are a lot of reasons why I have come over here, but you get a good opportunity in the county system. I am all for fairness and if you’re not good enough you can hold your hands up and accept you are not good enough. It was a difficult choice, but in terms of my career I think it was the right one and my dad is backing me 100%.
‘There’s no chance of me going back to South Africa. I decided to make a career here. This is my home now and I’m ready to play for England if they want me.’