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England ‘cruel’ to recall Jennings – Nasser Hussain

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has criticised England’s decision to pick Keaton Jennings for the final Test of the series against West Indies.

Dropped after the first Test in Barbados – where he scored 17 and 14 – he was recalled to a rebalanced England side for the St Lucia Test effectively in the place of wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, with the gloves handed over to Jonny Bairstow.

In the first innings of the Test, Jennings was dismissed for eight driving loosely to a full delivery, Keemo Paul’s first of the series. A concern for Jennings has been the repetitive nature of his dismissals after he fell in similar circumstances in both innings at Barbados.

With an average of 17.04, from 12 Tests outside Asia, his place in the side and, in particular, the logic of his recall so soon after his latest omission from the team was called into question by Hussain.

Speaking during the lunch interval on Sky Sports, Hussain said: “This lad is now horribly out of nick, and what England have done to him there is, to a degree, cruel to him.

“He can’t bat at the moment, he can’t drive at the moment, he hasn’t got any runs out here, he hasn’t played in the last game, there are no games in-between, the preparation has been poor, and you say to him ‘go on, go out there again.’

“It is loose batting, he can’t drive the ball. It is very ordinary selection, there was nothing about that innings today that made any kind of sense. It was an absolute horror show.”

Jennings seemed desperately out of form in his brief innings. Before his eventual dismissal, he should have been given out LBW when trapped in front by Kemar Roach – West Indies decided not to review the decision that would have been overturned by the third umpire – and he gifted Roston Chase with a regulation chance in the slips, only for it to be shelled.

Hussain was also critical of England’s decision not bring another batsman on the tour. With Joe Denly the only spare batsman at the start of the series, England were left with little room to change the team should they have decided to change the balance of the side as done for the St Lucia Test.

“It comes from what we said earlier in the day,” said Hussain. “You don’t have a spare batsman so you turn to a lad and say ‘go on, you weren’t good enough last game but come back in this time.’ It makes no sense at all.

“It’s a very easy game when you’re in nick. When you’re out of nick it suddenly becomes a impossible game and that was almost cruel watching.”

 

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