SA-born Jennings insists he’s ‘very English’

Keaton Jennings (Getty Images)
Keaton Jennings (Getty Images)

Cape Town - South African-born Keaton Jennings is gearing up for his English debut when England take on India in the fourth Test in Mumbai, starting on Thursday.

The 24-year-old is the son of former Proteas coach and wicketkeeper Ray Jennings, and captained South Africa at Under-19 level before moving to England in 2011.

"Growing up, I went to the same South African school (King Edward VII in Johannesburg) as Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie," said Jennings, as quoted by the Telegraph.

"I finished school and came over to England straightaway in April 2011, and then from there tried to part my way into English cricket..."

Jennings and all-rounder Liam Dawson have joined the England squad and will replace the injured Haseeb Hameed and Zafar Ansari.

The Durham star averaged over 60 in the County Championship last season and will open alongside England skipper Allistair Cook in Mumbai.

"At the moment I’m feeling very comfortable and very English, despite my accent," said Jennings.

"I felt it would be my best opportunity to live my dream in the UK and I’m very glad as I sit here now to have made that hard decision."

His father was reportedly stunned by his son's call-up, as the tall left-hander said earlier this week, "My mum was in tears and my dad was speechless, and they’re two things that don’t happen very often."

The fourth Test between India and England starts on Thursday at Wankhede Stadium (06:00 SA time).

India lead the five-Test series 2-0, after the first Test in Rajkot was drawn.

Keaton Jennings representing South Africa against England in an Under-19 match in 2011. (Image: Getty)

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