Keaton Jennings has been appointed Lancashire’s new captain ahead of 2023, the opening batter taking over from Dane Vilas, who stepped down after four seasons.
England’s Jennings heads into his new job after a summer from the gods in 2022.
In all cricket, including a pre-season friendly, he scored just over 2,000 runs, while his haul of 1,233 Championship runs was the most in Division One - and he missed the first three games through injury.
In a draw against Somerset at Southport in July, he racked up a career best 318 - the fourth highest total in Lancashire’s history.
He ended the season as captain of the team as they reached the One-Day Cup final, only to be beaten by Kent at Trent Bridge. It was a precursor to his permanent appointment, his first task being to progress the county from a trio of second-placed finishes across all competitions.
“It’s something I’m massively proud of,” he admitted of his new role, which was revealed in January.
“It’s one of those things when you grow up in the cricket world and you watch Test Matches at Emirates Old Trafford, and Lancashire is the epitome of that. To lead the guys this season is going to be amazing.”
It was no surprise at all when Jennings was named as Lancashire’s 2022 player of the year.
Jennings was born in Johannesburg and is the son of Ray, a former first-class batter and ex-South Africa coach.
His mother was born in Sunderland, giving Keaton British Citizenship, and he played Academy and second-team cricket with Durham in 2011 before making his first-class debut for Gauteng that December. He signed permanently with Durham shortly afterwards.
He is also a former South Africa Under 19s captain, though he has played 17 senior Test Matches for England to date, scoring two centuries.
His first - 112 - came on debut against India in Mumbai in December 2016. Unfortunately the match ended in defeat. But he bettered that two years later with 146 not out in the second innings of a victory against Sri Lanka at Galle.
Jennings has been unable to hold down his Test place, though his 2022 form earned him a touring place for Pakistan at the end of the year. He didn’t play, though did get a bird’s eye view as his close mate Ben Stokes captained England to a 3-0 victory.
Jennings signed for Lancashire ahead of the 2018 summer.
He was part of Durham’s 2013 Championship-winning side, but it was 2016 where Jennings really made his mark on first-class cricket, scoring seven centuries and totalling over 1,500 Championship runs with a double century against Yorkshire.
Jennings has a wonderful record against Yorkshire. But more of that in a moment.
The 2016 summer was also a breakthrough year in T20 cricket as he led Durham to their first-ever appearance in the Blast final.
Jennings was an ever-present part of Lancashire’s Championship promotion-winning campaign in 2019, returning 588 runs in 14 matches, including six fifties.
He has 31 senior career centuries; 25 in first-class cricket, five in List A and one in T20s.
That T20 century came for the Lightning against Durham at the Riverside in 2020, a superb 108 opening the batting.
He is more class than clobber with the bat, but he has shown time and time again just how versatile he can be. In the Blast semi-final against Yorkshire at Edgbaston in July 2022, he crashed a superb 75 off 51 balls as the Red Rose reeled in a target of 205 to win by six wickets with eight balls to spare.
It enhanced a remarkable career record against Yorkshire.
In 2021 and 2022, he scored four consecutive Championship centuries against them, becoming the first batter to achieve that feat for either side in Roses cricket.
In hitting 238 in the draw at Headingley in early 2022, he fell narrowly short of the highest individual score for either side in Roses cricket - Darren Lehmann's 252 at Headingley in 2001.
In recent years, Jennings has combined his cricket with studies and has completed two University degrees - the latest being a Masters in Business Administration completed in 2022.
He starts life as Lancashire captain 689 runs away from 10,000 career first-class runs.