Something truly remarkable might be about to happen and it involves Keaton Jennings

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Keaton Jennings (via Channel 5)

Remember last week when Joe Denly was picked for England because he happened to be nearby and wasn’t Keaton Jennings? Well it looks like those selection criteria were a little too exacting so they may have to soften them a bit.

You may be aware that there are fitness concerns about Foakes, Stokes and Woakes, but let us alert you to the fact that all the time you spend thinking about how their names rhyme was time you didn’t spend thinking about who’d play instead of each of them.

Chris Woakes was never going to play anyway, so that has no real impact, and if Ben Stokes doesn’t play, that’s straightforward enough – Sam Curran will come back into the side without actually missing a game having just been dropped for Mark Wood.

But what if Ben Foakes is injured? Well that’s easy, you think. Jonny Bairstow could keep wicket, or even Jos Buttler. But those two are already in the side, so that frees up a batting spot.

Guess who’s a batsman: Keaton Jennings.

Guess what England don’t have in their squad: any other batsmen.

England almost always have a player who pretty much everyone agrees shouldn’t be playing. You could call him a scapegoat if you wanted, but it’s more that England cricket fans like to prey on the vulnerable.

It’s usually a batsman. In the not-too-distant past, James Vince fulfilled the role. Every time he nicked one, everyone said they didn’t know what the selectors saw in him. Going further back, for a very long time it was Ian Bell, which seems fairly bonkers now.

It’s definitely Keaton Jennings at the minute. A combination of visible haplessness and scoring all his runs on away tours that no-one sees means he’s the man most likely to make people screw up their faces in incredulity.

If Ben Foakes still has a brisket for a hand and can’t play, there’s going to be an awful lot of incredulous face-screwing in this third Test. We’re quite looking forward to it.


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  1. Should’ve just waited until the match and said, ‘Keaton Jennings’s back!’

    Ah. Name ends with an ‘s’. That’s the problem, isn’t it.

  2. Well, you called it – he is back in the side (and nice hover caption btw). It would be nice to think that “something truly remarkable” might be a towering performance… but it’s just going to be the sheer fact he’s been picked again. Let’s not expect anything much from him, given that he clearly can’t handle pace.

    After Micko’s comment on a previous thread – asking whether any of us thought England had turned a corner (following the Ashes hammering; now, would that have been such a one-sided affair if Australia hadn’t been *cough* making the ball swing *cough*? very possibly not; would England have lost anyway? yeah, probably) – I thought quite a bit about the answer to that question. And I suppose the frustrating and disappointing thing is that England do seem to have plenty of very talented cricketers at the moment – they just don’t have a proper test match side, having focussed very much on getting their limited-overs shit together. Then again, does ANY country truly have a proper test match side these days..? I’m not sure they do… funny times we are living in, in more ways than one :-S

    1. We’d say India do. They don’t have a full deck of batsmen, but they have bowlers for all conditions. The series against England was a real shoot-out and the result didn’t flatter them. They beat Australia in Australia which isn’t easy to do even when they’re a bit mediocre.

  3. I’d certainly agree they are closest, but like you say, the batting is still a bit suspect. Still, that is the one country which has most nearly resolved the whole conundrum of how to prepare competitive sides for three different formats and a crazy schedule

    1. We thought the pitch was radiating some sort of energy field.

      Mowing makes more sense.

      1. “Interesting field setting from Holder. A double twelve, a double four, and a man just backward of treble eighteen.”

        See, it sounds wrong.

      2. No field settings from Holder in this match – Holder is confined to the naughty step…

        …or should I say, for this match, “the naughty mat behind the oche”?

        Meanwhile Jennings is likely to be confined to his Little Hut for all eternity after this match…might Darbishire [sic] be his next county move, perchance?

  4. Not a lot of improvements I can suggest, but a reversal of the middle names would render him KAMP which may be an improvement for marketing abbreviation purposes.

    On the other hand, Bert would likely argue that KMAP is the original and superior choice.

    1. Gold star for anyone who can work out which post that was attempting to reply to, but it would be a very small star, and suspiciously yellow-looking to be true gold. On its plus side, it will have a sticky side so can attractively adorn your exercise books when you bring them home to show off to mother how clever you are.

      1. In the matter of Keemo Paul, Daisy reckons that parents who chose the middle names “Mandela Angus” were spreading their affections far and wide, honouring both Nelson Mandela and Angus Fraser.

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