Root, Stokes back Jennings to return to England Test squad

“He’s got a great character and he was a big part of our dressing room”

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England captain Joe Root and all-rounder Ben Stokes are confident that opening batsman Keaton Jennings will be back in the Test squad sooner rather than later.

Jennings was not part of the 13-man squad for the first Test against the West Indies as he struggled with the bat in the recent four-Test series against South Africa, where he mustered 127 runs at an average of 15.87.

Despite being axed, Root and Stokes believe the 25-year-old has what it takes to come back into the side in the near future.

“It’s pretty obvious for Jennings,” Root said. “It’s just the volume of runs for him. Go back to county cricket and show what a great player he is. I’ve no doubt he’ll be able to do that. He’s got a great character and he was a big part of our dressing room which was a successful one to beat South Africa.”

Speaking to Sky Sports, Stokes added: “He hasn’t had the best of series’; he would have known that and be disappointed. From the amount of runs he has got over the last two seasons playing for Durham, and getting 100 in his first England innings, he knows that he can do it.”

Jennings’ place in the side was taken by uncapped Surrey opener Mark Stoneman, who is almost guaranteed to feature in the first Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston. The match will be a historic one as it will be the first day-night Test to be held in England.

“He has scored a volume of runs this summer,” Root said about Stoneman. “I think he deserves his opportunity. It’s a great chance for Mark to stamp his authority on Test cricket.”

Uncapped Hampshire spinner Mason Crane also made the cut as he replaced Liam Dawson.

“It’s important not to put too much pressure on his young shoulders,” Root said. “It’s a great opportunity for him as well if he gets his chance.”

The first Test between England and the West Indies will get underway on August 17.

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