England centurion Keaton Jennings admits criticism hit him hard
8:35 am EST, 8 November 2018
8:36 am EST, 8 November 2018
Keaton Jennings dug deep to deliver a career of the anxieties and self-doubt he has experienced trying to prove himself over the past 18 months.
Sri Lankan on the top of the first test.
It was a match, and a tour, many felt the Lancashire opener should not even be part of a dreadful summer in which he had just 19.2 in 10 innings and looked bereft of confidence.
Sri Lankan attacked in the submission through sheer force of will. Most of the six batting partners were more fluent.
For the first time in the United Kingdom.
Since scoring a hundred on debut against 2016 Jennings has been on a rollercoaster – losing form dramatically, axed soon after and then having his technique picked up ruthlessly on his unsuccessful return this year.
"The relief is something I can not really explain. It's just really good and it's a big 'thank you' to the people who have been stuck with me over the last 18 months, "he said.
Jennings walks off after being dismissed against India in the fifth Oval test earlier this year (John Walton / PA)
"You have to look at your immediate circle who are there when you need that hug, that shoulder to cry on. My mum and dad have been really good. My uncle too. It's been really tough but I sit here really proud.
"They have been backing through some tough times, waking up in the night.
"When you're waking up at 6.30 in the morning and reading about your technical deficiencies."
It is unusual – and unusually refreshing – to hear an elite athlete opening up in such a way. Jennings has been assiduously polite, even when it was severe scrutiny, and there was no chance of him using his platform to settle with his critics.
Instead he simply explained how they felt about him and how he went about bouncing back.
He added: "You feel the pinch from the media point of view. You read this, I think you'll be up to the point where I suppose you wake up and eat what you're having in the morning … something as simple as that.
"So you try to ask yourself" where is this pressure coming from? It is just from a lack of runs. The key was a happy environment away from cricket.
Jennings, right, bumps fists with England team-mate Ben Foakes during the third day of the Sri Lanka Test (Eranga Jayawardena / AP)
"Cricket is a job – what is it, 8 am-7pm? – go home and enjoy a beer, enjoy a rum and coke, enjoy time with your niece and nephew. Be with your family. Actually have a life outside of cricket. It's kept me healthy. "
To the historic fourth-innings chase.
"Any time you put in a performance that makes you feel good and hopefully we can go on and win this test," he said.
Share or comment on this article:
Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.