Why Keaton Jennings’ Test debut is also great news for Jason Roy

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Keaton Jennings will make his Test debut against India and if there’s one aspect of this news that everyone’s talking about, it’s the fact that the Durham opener has two surnames and no first name.

England are not unaware of this and they will no doubt harbour concerns about the balance of the side. The team, as it stands, now contains a surname surplus and a first name shortfall with no immediate solution available.

Long-term, England will no doubt be looking to Jason Roy to fill the void. An enforced name-swap so as to field a Jason Keaton and a Roy Jennings seems unlikely. More likely management will simply be content to weigh all the team’s first names against all of the surnames, dealing with them en masse.

Earlier this year, we suggested that Keaton Jennings would have been One To Watch if we still did that kind of thing. Those who took our implicit advice and opted to track his progress anyway will doubtless feel well-informed about his rise to the England team. Others will just have to trawl through the county cricket category on this website, noting that each time he scored a hundred, we said that he’d scored a hundred.

We don’t believe Jason Roy earned any mentions from us for his County Championship returns this season. This opens up the distinct possibility that England could be profoundly unbalanced for an extended period.


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  1. “Alright Mrs Keaton, I mean Jennings, is your Jennings, I mean Keaton playing today?”

    For fact fans, Keaton apparently means “place of hawks”, and the Keatons are also “a race of fictional, fox-like creatures in The Legend of Zelda series of video games”.

  2. Where does all this leave the recently recalled Jos Buttler, who at best has one made up name and a sort of surname, but in realistically has no proper names? It’s an absolute mess of a name, and England may have to call up Daniel Bell-Drummond to at least partially paper over the cracks.

  3. Could Eoin Morgan get a call if the selectors don’t fancy Roy? Though arguably he has one girl’s first name and one slightly foreign first name, which may count against him.

    1. Actually, it’s got to be Toby Roland-Jones hasn’t it as a firstnaming allrounder who can also secondname a bit?

  4. “Hey Moeen, can we borrow your surname to help even up the first name shortage?”

    “Yeah, all right.”

  5. Adil Rashid already has two first names, so perhaps Jason Roy may not be required. In fact, maybe the redressal of this particular imbalance is the real reason Keaton Jennings has been called up to the squad.

    If that doesn’t solve the problem, England have no choice but to persuade Johnson Charles, the only cricketer in living memory to have a surname as his first name and a first name as his surname, to defect. With a Johnson Charles in your ranks, you are immune from any sort of first name – surname imbalance.

    1. Top Spot Uday.
      Moeen Ali and Haseeb Hameed qualify as well.
      Worth mentioning here that Ravichandran Ashwin, and Murali Vijay are both double firsts too.

      1. Or we could stock up on some Chinese cricketers (Ged can help us find some – he has been to monasteries and such). The Chinese write their surname first and first name last.

    1. He was England’s oldest surviving test cricketer, till he died. That’s a record worth chasing, because the only way to get it is by having lots of other people die.

      I’m not saying he did that on purpose, only that he might have done.

      1. I never got on with those Jennings books, as a kid. They left me cold.

        I’m warming to KK Jennings this morning, though. Or do I mean Jennings, KK? Or, as son of Ray, does that make him Jennings Minor? Jennings Junior?

  6. We can rate Jennings on how he performs according to the book titles of Anthony Buckeridge: ‘Our Friend Jennings’, ‘Thanks to Jennings’, ‘Take Jennings, for Instance’, ‘Jennings, as Usual’, ‘The Trouble with Jennings’, ‘Trust Jennings’, or the as yet unwritten, ‘Ag, Jennings, lekker handy hundred.’

  7. XI of ‘opening partners for Cook since Strauss retired’

    1. Compton
    2. Root
    3. Carberry
    4. Robson
    5. Trott
    6. Lyth
    7. Moeen
    8. Buttler
    9. Hales
    10. Hameed
    11. Jennings

      1. None of the ‘Pakistanis’ were caught Short in the first innings, but surely it’s only a matter of time?

      2. It’s happened to me – in an evening match featuring Leigh’s greatest ever chess player’s brother.

  8. Poor effort from Jennings today. Nothing makes a tricky overseas tour more interesting for the armchair fan than a decent debate about who might open in the next match. It allows for smug knowledge of the deeper reaches of the County Championship, combined with half-baked theories on the psychology of pressure in sport. What could be better?

    Jennings has robbed us of that, and instead has provided clarity and certainty. What use clarity and certainty are on any subject, I’m just not at all sure.

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