Jennings hails Stokes' will to win
It’s not just the Aussies Ben Stokes loves beating - just ask Keaton Jennings, his former Durham team-mate.
Stokes’ sensational unbeaten 135 in the third Ashes Test at Emerald Headingley is still ringing in the ears of the cricketing world and has left the Ashes beautifully poised at one apiece heading into the final two Tests.
The star all-rounder is enjoying a golden summer having also won the man-of-the-match award in the World Cup final at Lord’s in mid-July.
“When you look at a guy like Ben, he always seems to make things happen regardless of the state of the game,” said Lancashire’s Jennings ahead of Wednesday’s fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford.
“He is never far away from something special.
“One thing Ben has always been is a competitor whether you’re playing Mario Kart, Table Tennis or in the Ashes. He always wants to win.
“His language around interviews, there’s nothing self promoting. It’s all team orientated. That’s probably one of his biggest attributes. He puts his personal pride aside.
“Bowling a 15-over spell at 87mph average on a hot day, he just wants to get his team over the line.
“If he goes and plays in his son’s dads v lads game, I think he might be bowling a 15-over spell again!
“He has such an appetite for competition and being first in that competition.
“As cricketers, you go through those phases (golden periods). Sometimes they last for two years or sometimes a week. Everyone has them. It couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy.
“He’s a fantastic human being. He’s had some trouble over the last 18 months, so to get some reward for the hard work he’s done is great to see.
“He will get in the gym after a Test match, he will catch balls at tea time. He has a relentless work ethic.”
Jennings was on the field with Lancashire in a Vitality Blast game at Worcestershire when his mate was in full flight and reducing a target of 73, with only one wicket left, blow by blow.
And he revealed: “We knew what was going on and were screaming to Steve O’Shaughnessy and Neil Bainton, the two umpires, ‘Get us off the field, let’s go and watch it’.
“We even wanted it up on the scoreboard. I think it was Jimmy Faulkner about to bowl, and the crowd shouting and cheering meant we had to stop and let it die down.
“Emirates Old Trafford will be rocking. The first four days are sold out. There will be 23-24,000 in, and it’s a fantastic venue.
“It will be a good wicket with pace and bounce, and I think it will be a fantastic Test match. If we can come away with a win, that would be great.”
Jennings believes the balance of power lies with England now, but not by much.
“It must have been hard to lose a game like that,” he said.
“But, make no mistake, Australia will fight hard. They always do. They will want to hit back.”
This week is a huge one for Lancashire Cricket. An Old Trafford Test and a Vitality Blast quarter-final against Essex, which clashes with Wednesday’s first day.
“It’s a cool that we’re playing a home quarter up there. Durham suits the way we play, it’s a big field. But wherever we play, we need to play well," he said.
Day Five tickets remain available
Day Five general admission tickets remain available for the 4th Specsavers Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, priced at £25 adults and £5 juniors.
If there is no play, all ticket holders will be refunded.