Keaton Jennings on England's win in St Lucia, Mark Wood's spell and an exciting summer ahead
"It's an exciting year for English cricket with the World Cup and the Ashes so I just have to score as many runs as I can and see what happens"
By Keaton Jennings - @JetJennings
Last Updated: 22/02/19 10:12pm
In his latest Sky Sports column, Keaton Jennings looks back at England’s win in St Lucia, Mark Wood’s searing spell and getting back to work with Lancashire ahead of a busy summer…
It was good to end the Tests with a win. We may have lost the series but at no point did the guys take their foot off the gas and we were always pushing to win, no matter how difficult a situation we were in.
It was a real team effort in St Lucia. If you look down the order: Rooty got a really special hundred after a tough tour, Jos got two fifties, Stokesy batted well and Woody's lightning spell was probably one of the quickest I've been involved with.
Jimmy got them 10-3 in that final innings, Denners hit his first Test fifty - everybody put their hand up whether it was with a catch, a run out or batting a period of time, it was a really good Test match to be a part of.
I found out I was in the team a day before, at practice. Rooty goes around and makes sure everybody knows what their roles are that they're looking to go into the game with. That is one of the things he is very good at, being very clear with the message that he wants to get across to guys.
It's quite reassuring to know before practice that the 12 is settled and you can go about prepping for the game.
I didn't score the runs I'd have liked and the way I got out in the second innings was one of those situations where you either laugh or you cry.
You're in a position where you feel that you're batting a period of time, the momentum of the game has started to shift your way from a lead, with the wear and tear of the opposition, Denners started to go really nicely and we were building a partnership.
Getting out at that point was a massive frustration, especially when you get out like that off the inside of your thigh pad. You walk off wondering what karma you are fulfilling! I suppose that is part and parcel of professional sport, you need to handle those exceptional circumstances.
For example, bowlers have to deal with all that wear and tear, being tired and keep running in to bowl. For batters the same goes for you when you're out to a freak dismissal, a strangle down the legside or whatever it is. You have to take it and keep it in perspective, accept it and work on ways to improve.
I’m a level-headed, down-to-earth bloke so it’s just score as many runs and win many games as you can for Lancs, then see where you are at the end of April, the end of May and see where you get to.
There are certain areas of my game that I want to look at, correct and develop. Rooty had certain areas that he wanted to improve in this tour and as professional cricketers, working on our games is a perpetual theme.
But for me now, I just want to score as many runs as I can for Lancashire at the start of the year. It's an exciting year for English cricket with the World Cup and the Ashes so I just have to score as many runs as I can and see what happens.
One massive positive for English cricket was Woody's spell in St Lucia - that was really quick! I played with him at [T20 Blast] Finals Day a couple of years ago when he bowled incredibly quickly but this felt even quicker when I was at short leg - it was rapid!
It was awesome to see a guy in that sort of rhythm. I was saying to a couple of the guys that it was probably the quickest I've been involved with in terms of standing on a field and feeling that intensity of a guy running in with fire in his eyes and his belly to make an impact on the game - and he did just that!
For one of my best mates, I couldn't be happier or prouder of him after the journey he has been through over the last 18 months or two years. The way he has performed has been awesome. That spell was quick, it was intense, aggressive and that is Woody at his best, the impact he can have on games of cricket and is probably the way he wants to go about playing.
As a bowling unit it is good to have that extra string to your bow. In England the conditions are very different, of course, but on that day it was good to have that different string.
A lot was said about the exchange between Shannon Gabriel and Joe during the match. All I'll say is that Joe is a belting lad. Things get heated out in the middle, it is a tough sport and you're out in 35-degree heat, 80 per cent humidity and sometimes people say things. So for Joe to be really calm and collected in that sort of way just sums him up as a bloke. That's him, he's such a good lad.
As a team, when you look at what we've achieved over the winter, playing six Tests and winning four of them, we did lose the [Windies] series which is hard to take but we've played some very good cricket. We've put ourselves in positions that previously we may not have and adjusted to situations more quickly as well at times. It has been a huge positive for that group of players.
I've got a bit of a break now, time off is good to refresh the mind and the body. Then I've got work to do. I'll be back in the nets, grafting away and putting in huge hours trying to develop, get better and iron out flaws.
At times you've really got to put in those tough hours when you don't feel like it and things aren't moving in the right direction but, at the end of it, you've got that time in the bank and you do come out of the other end.
The first game of the year at Loughborough will definitely be very different to Shannon Gabriel charging in and trying to kill you in Antigua or St Lucia! I think in the same way that you go to Sri Lanka and have to face certain conditions, when you arrive at Loughborough on April 5, you have to face those conditions, it's a skill that certain guys like Rooty and Cooky just get right much more often than other guys.
You've got to adapt to conditions pretty quickly and that's what I'll be aiming to do.
Watch the second ODI between Windies and England from 2.30pm on Sky Sports Cricket.