Keaton Jennings. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Keaton Jennings. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Test star ‘in bed bawling my eyes out’

England opener Keaton Jennings "lay in bed bawling his eyes out" during his desperate struggle for form last winter - as he battles to cling on to an Ashes spot.

The Lancashire opener, still only 26, endured a nightmare winter in Sri Lanka and the West Indies and faces a fight to be in this summer's Test squad.

Jennings was dropped for the last Ashes tour in Australia but was recalled at Mark Stoneman's expense - before embarking on another tough run.

Now, Jennings has opened up to the Cricket Paper, saying: "It is tough. I'd be lying to you if I said there aren't nights when you're lying in bed bawling your eyes out.

"It is hard. You can feel like the world's on top of you.

"I don't read about myself any more. I did two years ago, and I found myself in some pretty bad ways, trying to come up with game plans about how to face guys for hours and hours on end.

"It was tough mentally. I went through a couple of really tough months."

Jennings struggled with the bat against Sri Lanka and the West Indies this winter. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Jennings struggled with the bat against Sri Lanka and the West Indies this winter. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jennings - whose weakness outside off-stump has been exposed time and time again - has started the 2019 County Championship season strongly.

He scored a solid half-century to kick-off the season against Middlesex at Lord's in the four-day game.

Jennings added 50s against Worcestershire and Northants in the 50-over format too as he aims to rack up the runs this summer before August's Ashes.

The former Durham batsman went on to say it's "mentally disintegrating" making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Jennings added: "Why people think that they want to wake up in the morning and abuse people on social media I have no idea, but that's entirely people's choice.

"It does take quite a bit of mental resilience. It takes a strong family backing, a strong, happy, loving environment to help you through.

"You can't handle everything all by yourself, so to have a family behind you is fantastic.

"Mentally, the disintegration of when you're seeing yourself in the news - especially when you aren't doing well - is tough to handle. It dents you - it definitely does."

Jennings went on to say he still holds aspirations of being England's top-order stalwart for years to come - calling international cricket a "drug".

The opener said: "My desire to play for England is just as strong now as it was when I was a five-year-old wanting to play international cricket.

"It does become a bit of a drug and an adrenaline rush - hearing Jerusalem playing before the first ball is bowled is just absolutely fantastic.

"I'd love to walk out representing my country in a Test match at Old Trafford."

This article was originally published by The Sun and reproduced with permission