Keaton Jennings delighted for ‘relentless’ Ben Stokes
Keaton Jennings believes “relentless” Ben Stokes is enjoying a golden phase in his career and says it could not happen to a nicer guy.
Stokes’ sensational unbeaten 135 carried England to an improbable win in the third Ashes Test at Headingley to level the series at 1-1.
Jennings, who was dropped from the Test side after struggling over the winter, was a team-mate of Stokes in their days at Durham before the batsman switched to Lancashire ahead of the 2018 season.
After also delivering a man-of-the-match performance to help England to victory in the World Cup final, Stokes is enjoying a memorable summer.
Jennings puts it down to Stokes’ will to win and his incredible work ethic.
“As cricketers, you go through those phases (golden periods),” Jennings told the Lancashire website.
“Sometimes they last for two years or sometimes a week. Everyone has them. It couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy.
“He will get in the gym after a Test match, he will catch balls at tea time. He has a relentless work ethic.
“He is never far away from something special.
“One thing Ben has always been is a competitor whether you’re playing Mario Kart, table tennis or in the Ashes. He always wants to win.”
Stokes was reinstated to the role of England vice-captain ahead of the series after being stripped of the position in 2017 following his involvement in a brawl in Bristol.
He also missed the Ashes tour of Australia due to that incident. The 28-year-old was cleared of affray in August last year and Jennings is delighted that he has been able to bounce back.
“He’s a fantastic human being. He’s had some trouble over the last 18 months, so to get some reward for the hard work he’s done is great to see,” Jennings added.
“His language around interviews, there’s nothing self-promoting. It’s all team orientated. That’s probably one of his biggest attributes. He puts his personal pride aside.”
The fourth Test begins at Old Trafford on Wednesday with Australia looking to respond after their shock defeat at Headingley – having looked set to seal an Ashes-retaining victory.
“It must have been hard to lose a game like that,” Jennings added.
“But, make no mistake, Australia will fight hard. They always do. They will want to hit back.
“Old Trafford will be rocking. The first four days are sold out. There will be 23-24,000 in, and it’s a fantastic venue.
“It will be a good wicket with pace and bounce, and I think it will be a fantastic Test match. If we can come away with a win, that would be great.”