Opening batsman Keaton Jennings is determined to add value to England's Test squad after being recalled for this month's tour of Sri Lanka.
Jenning has not played Test cricket since February 2019, but has been included in the squad in the wake of injury to fellow opening batman Rory Burns.
The left-handed Jenning has struck two Test centuries – both in the sub-continent and one in Sri Lanka. Some solid performances this month could put him in contention for a berth in the Ashes series squad. England are priced at 4.00 by bet365 to win the 2021-22 Ashes series.
“We've got a few guys competing for top-order places but that's healthy” Jennings told PA.
“It's almost like the old opening batter's union – only you know the pressure they are feeling and what they are going through.”
Jennings vs Sibley and Crawley
The inexperienced Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley opened the batting during the recent Test series against South Africa, which England won three-one. Sibley and Crawley have been retained for the two Tests against Sri Lanka.
“Sibley and Crawley are two very good blokes and two guys who are working very hard at their game. Whether I get the chance or not, I'm here to help England win the series. If I play, that's awesome, if I end up mixing electrolyte drinks then I'll do that,” added Jennings.
“You cannot underestimate the level of support everyone offers each other in that dressing room. It becomes a family-type unit. You feel your mate's hurt when he nicks off early doors – it's hard to see because you have been in that situation and you can double it when you're playing for England.”
The 27-year-old Jennings captain the England Lions to victory over Australia A at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last month. He batted third in the order, after openers Sibley and Crawley.
“Any Australia side is up for it and always wants to compete, so to captain and to win there definitely makes me very happy,” said Jenning.
“It's something I'll look back on with a beer in front of my fireplace and be very proud of. There's potential for some of the guys to go back there in a little while and recall those experiences. You live between Ashes series, that's the way English cricket works.”
The first Test will start on 19 March in Galle. The second will be played in Colombo.