Lancashire’s Keaton Jennings knows he has to make second chance with England count

Keaton Jennings celebrates scoring a century on his England debut against India back in December 2016
Keaton Jennings celebrates scoring a century on his England debut against India back in December 2016
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Lancashire batsman Keaton Jennings must make the numbers stack up after being given a second chance to prove himself as a Test match opener.

Jennings knows from his accountancy studies off the pitch as well as his previous England struggles on it that it can sometimes be difficult to achieve viable statistics.

In six Tests before being dropped in favour of Mark Stoneman nine months ago, the left-hander could muster only 294 runs at an average of 24.50 despite a century on debut in Mumbai.

Against Pakistan at Headingley this week, the 25-year-old will become the first of the 12 openers tried since 2012 as Alastair Cook’s partner to be given a second shot at what Jennings describes as “one of the toughest jobs in Test cricket”.

Asked if he can make a success of his Test aspirations as England bid to battle back from their nine-wicket defeat at Lord’s, he said: “I suppose that’ll only be answered at the end of the week.

“You will only get judged on the amount of runs you score.

“With cricket, you can do everything right and things just don’t work out sometimes. I’m really excited for this week.

“I want to play with a happy heart and a big smile on my face.”

Jennings hopes his move from Durham to Lancashire will help him handle his return to Test cricket.

“I’ve moved away to address those issues, not only technically but in my life and the way I was going about things,” he said.

“At the end of the week I’m sure there’ll be more talk about whether the changes have worked.

“If there are runs on the board then great - if not, I guess there’s more addressing to be done.”

In a BBC interview, he made it clear he will not invite extra pressure.

He added: “I want to enjoy this week. It might be the last Test I play - so I really want to enjoy the feeling.

“It’s one of the toughest jobs in Test cricket, especially in England. That’s what makes Cookie one of the most valuable players around.

“He’s the only player to score 10,000 Test runs as an opener (Cook has 11,472), he averages 45, he’s played 153 Tests on the bounce - and that’s also why there’s been a lot of guys rotated around him.

“This is huge. I feel privileged, honoured and I hope I can make an impact.”