Goodbye Keaton Jennings. It Was Nice Knowing You.

You’re a great close catcher. You’re always smiling. I’ve seen you take selfies with kids on the boundary at The Oval, and even get a 50 for Lancashire at Finals Day. And yes, I think you look like Hollywood actor Matthew Lillard (see ‘Scream’ for details).

But my God, you’ve been the most frustrating opening batsman to watch.

The problem is not that you’ve looked terrible at the crease. Often you haven’t. It’s just been the terrible decisions – over and over again – that have walked you back to the pavilion.

You left balls on a swinging pitch against India this summer, and were bowled consistently.

Your stupid wafts, or leaving your gates more open than a lady in a bordello in Chinatown, have driven us mad.

And your attempt at inventiveness – the cheeky reverse sweep in the first innings against India at The Oval – just didn’t work.

You were such an aberration to a good summer that my friends and I used the words: “Oh Jennings, really?” as we watched you repeatedly shoot your toes. You’ve shot them so much that we’re shocked you can still walk, let alone bat or field.

It got so bad that you were not longer Keaton Kent Jennings, but Keaton “For ****’s sake” Jennings”.

We tried to give you a chance on Sri Lanka’s turning pitches. You had an outstanding first Test, scoring 46 and 146, and we thought: “Yes, there’s a player here”. But the cracks then reappeared with 1, 26, 13 and 1 in the following two tests.

We had our fingers crossed for the West Indies (or is it ‘Windies?’) and you were dreadful against the cricket board teams, let alone the Test teams.

And finally, the patience ran out and you were dropped for Joe Denly.

Because England seem to have an opening bat tombola, you still have hope. You’ll probably be back sooner than we anticipate – especially if Joe Denly gets a pair of pairs or Rory Burns doesn’t perform. Or the short leg drops some sitters.

But you could disappear like your fellow Lancashire player, Haseeb Hamed, who lost confidence and has never got it back. We hope that it doesn’t happen to you. We really do. But perhaps it’s best if you go back to county cricket for a while. Our frayed nerves just can’t take anymore.

Alex Ferguson


  • Enjoyable read and agree with the vast majority of it. One sentence sticks out like a sore thumb though – “the problem is not tha you’ve looked terrible at the crease”.

    He has looked absolute bobbins time after time after time. Feet hammered into one position against South Africa in 2016, and his “curtain rail” method of playing a forward defense.

    I dont think its his fault, he was recalled despite not scoring a run, because he irons his socks and makes a nice cup of tea and blows more smoke per square cm of lung capacity up Ben Stokes’ rectum.

    They even compromised their squad to give him reassurance this winter with no spare opening batsman and Ed Smith, Genius At Cricket tied himself in knots with his “its ok to not score runs as long as nobody else scores too many” defense of him.

    As a Lancashire fan, I happen to think he’s utter bobbins for us too, but at least he’s more reliable than poor old Hameed.

    Hope to read more from you Sir Alex!

  • After a record breaking test career lasting well over a decade, veteran Alistair cook finally retired at the age of 33.

    His replacement, the fresh new blood and hope for the future is Joe sent aged 32.

    Honestly, they should go back to basics and pick a new squad. Bring over another opener and someone to play number 3.

  • I wouldn’t rule out him coming back if they can find a way. I’ve already seen some reliable chumps arguing he’d make a good middle order batsman (“good against spin” etc) and when there’s a vacancy…

    They like his “character” and “character” counts for a lot in this England set-up.

    To be fair to Jennings, it’s a difficult time to be an opener. The Spin had some stat that 2018 was the worst year for openers since 1962 (although that was before Tom Latham’s 264*). Juiced-up pitches (except in Australia) and dodgy balls to get matches over in 3 or 4 days mean it’s no time to be an opener.

    • More down to dire white ball mentalities of ‘thou shalt not bat long and slow’

    • See Bairstow, buttler, moeen, root and stokes for examples of yet more dashers

  • Jennings has a larger repertoire of jokes than Bob Monkhouse and his guitar playing has been admired by no less than Julian
    Bream. His knowledge of Brexit is encyclopaedic and had he not been out in the Caribbean he might well have been a key member of T May’s negotiating team, deftly cutting through all the crap surrounding the process. Some say that his dancing skills are amazing and he’s always among the first to buy a round.

    Actually all the foregoing is probably complete bollocks but it might explain why he kept his place for so long.

  • Unfortunately the guy just isn’t good enough and at last England seem to have realised that. But he could easily be back unless they get numbers 1,2 & 3. sorted out. Burns hopefully will be ok longer term. I’m not one for recalling veteran players, but until they sort this out, what about Hildreth and/or Bell as a stop gap? At least they are experienced 4 day players and may do a job.ok

    On a separate note I see the piece on the IPL here got all of 3 views, all in the negative. The BBC site keeps bombarding us with the BBL too, I wonder why as I doubt many are at all interested.

    • Hi Doug. The IPL piece was a sponsored post not a regular TFT article. It earns me a bit of dosh to keep the site going :-)

  • To be fair, he doesn’t pick himself. Easy to rip apart shortcomings from the comfort of your sofa. Hope he bangs back to form with the mighty RedRose!

    • “To be fair, he doesn’t pick himself.”

      You’re right: he doesn’t score enough runs to make himself indispensable.

  • Well his replacement Joe Denly didn’t look much better today, he should have been given out for that lbw, and then gets out to a horrible shot. Let’s see how he does in the 2nd dig.

  • Sadly.. this is the worst englsnd test side I’ve seen. Lacks fight, lacks heart, lacks application. All it has going for it is gun ho mentality which comes off


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