Keaton Jennings not fussed about facing Proteas

Johannesburg [South Africa], Jan.1 : England opener Keaton Jennings has insisted that he is not concerned about the possibility of facing his fellow South Africans in the four-match Test series to be held in July.

Keaton, the South African-born son of former cricketer Ray Jennings, stressed that in case he gets selected in the squad, he would be absolutely ready to face the probable backlash pointed towards him for playing for England.

"I don't think it will feel weird playing against South Africa, but I know that the intensity around that will be heightened.

There will be all the chat again about my nationality. And if I do play I will have to make sure I handle that and be calm, settled and focused," Sport24 quoted Jennings as saying.

The 24-year-old, who made his England debut as Alastair Cook's opening partner in the fourth Test of the five-match series against India in Mumbai, said he is ready to drop down the order if he was not be required to open the batting.

"I'd be happy to bat at No 10 and be a fielder. Just to have the opportunity to play Test cricket, whether I'm playing in my preferred role or something slightly out of the norm," said Jennings, who will probably also face some old team-mates from the Gauteng Province side whom he played for in 2011 and in the same year led the South Africa Under-19 side on the tour of England.

"If the opportunity is there in July to bat at No 3 and that is what (England coach) Trevor Bayliss or Cook want me to do then I will bite their hand off," he added.

Barring a drop in form for his county Durham, Jennings' performance was one of the rare positives in England's 0-4 defeat to India.

He became the 14th cricketer to have brought up a ton on debut against India in the longer format of the game.

The South Africa born, who is playing for his 'home county' as his mother hails from Sunderland in the north east of England, also became the 19th England cricketer to have scored a Test hundred in his opening game.

Jennings also contributed a half century in the fifth and final Test, which his side lost by an innings and 75 runs in Chennai.

Source: ANI