IND v ENG 2016: Alastair Cook Backs Keaton Jennings To Shine On Debut
When England take field for the fourth Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, there’ll be yet another debutant for the visitors. After talented opener Haseeb Hameed suffered from broken hand, South African born Keaton Jennings was called up to replace him. Jennings has been a consistent run-getter for Durham in this county season and will open alongside skipper Alastair Cook at Wankhede.
On the eve of the game, Cook spoke to the press and confirmed Keaton would accompany him at the top of the order. England captain mentioned Jennings’ Durham teammate Ben Stokes had spoken highly about the left-handed batsman.
“Keaton will make his debut. It’s a great opportunity for the guy,” said Cook.
“He’s in good touch and he’s spent time in the middle for the Lions and it will be a special day for him. It’s similar to what happened to be 10 years ago, flying out 48 hours before the game (Cook’s own debut in Nagpur in 2006).
“I had never met him properly before, so it could have been daunting but having Ben Stokes around has helped. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders – mentally very strong – and so we wish him all the luck. It’s disappointing about Hameed – we have found player there – but if Keats comes in it will add to our top-order players,” Cook added.
Cook added he spoke in the team meeting about showing intent and character for the remaining Tests, which has clearly been missing since the last couple of games. Cook hopes his side to replicate their performance from the tour opener in Rajkot.
“It was a clear message we want more intent. The team responded to something similar in his first game in Cardiff during 2015 Ashes Test. Hopefully we go back to that level. Rajkot was our blueprint. It wasn’t Trevor saying it, I was part of the conversation and I agree our players play better with a direction,” said Cook about the remaining games in the series.
“Yes, we are trying to win games of cricket for England. My batting has been about wearing the opposition down but that doesn’t change the intent I need to have. There is definitely different approaches, it’s not just fours and sixes, it’s the intent to score that gets you in good positions,” he concluded.
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