Jordan determined to make his mark


Published: Monday 15th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Chris Jordan is determined to be part of a much-improved England performance at the Premadasa Stadium as he continues his late surge into World Cup contention.

Jordan was veering towards the periphery of the 15-man squad here when he put in an alarmingly erratic display in England’s warm-up victory over a Sri Lanka A team at the SSC ground last month.

But since returning to the one-day international team in the five-wicket win at Hambantota, he has bowled all but one of his full 37-over quota in four matches – and taken two wickets on each occasion.

He has bowled much better lines and been a much more reliable option for captain Alastair Cook.

Jordan’s improvement has coincided with two wins and two losses on the way to series defeat after England were also beaten in his absence in the first two fixtures.

From 4-2 down, they will therefore be playing for pride – in front of a significant travelling support – but also World Cup confidence, and in the hope of a badly-needed return to form for captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order, in Tuesday’s seventh and final ODI.

Jordan is frustrated by the scoreline, of course, but still believes England have much incentive to rouse themselves and reduce the deficit.

“It’s a series we wanted to win, and we thought we had a really good chance of winning,” he said.

“We’re really close to putting together a full performance.

“Every time you put an England shirt on, you go out there to win a game for England.

“We have fans who’ve travelled a long way to see us perform, and we plan to put a really good show on for them.”

Jordan admits, in a year containing 17 of his 18 ODI caps to date, he has lacked consistency.

But the 26-year-old seamer has every right to think he may be on an upward curve at the right time, with England set to pick a tri-series – and unofficial World Cup – squad on Saturday.

“Because I set such high standards for myself, I think it’s been a little bit up and down,” he said of his performances in 2014.

“At times, I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like. But after the last four games especially, I’m happy I’ve been able to back up one performance with another one and then another.

“So I’m pretty happy with that progress.”

His uncanny striking ability down the order has not been evident yet on this tour – but allied to his brilliant fielding, especially his slip catching, means he offers an all-round package to tempt the selectors.

He said: “I guess being a three-dimensional cricketer doesn’t hurt. I think I’ve steadily improved.

“I’ve been working quite hard on my accuracy and consistency … and also to keep my pace up, and think I’ve shown glimpses in the games.”

Jordan is hardly about to pre-empt the squad announcement, though.

“I guess that’s a job for the selectors,” he added. ” All I can do is keep putting in my hard work in the nets and any opportunity I do get in games, and leave the rest up to them.”

As for that shoddy first showing on this tour, he agrees “rustiness” following the end of the English summer might have been a factor.

He said: “Also [I was working on] my plans to left-handers, getting my angles right from round the wicket and mixing up my pace….I’m just happy with the improvement I’ve made.

“On slow wickets, I guess I have the ability to extract a little bit more bounce. I find a knack to pick up wickets, even when I’m not quite bowling as well as I’d like.

“That’s quite handy in one-day cricket, keep taking wickets and get two new batters at the crease. You can keep building pressure that way.”

Kumar Sangakkara has been among his victims three times here – albeit most recently caught at cover off a short one after a match-winning 112 at Pallekele.

But Jordan said: “Even (then), it was worked to a plan – a change of pace after bowling a few quicker balls.

“It’s a nice scalp to have a few times.”

England are unlikely to make unenforced changes to their losing team in Colombo, but will be keeping an eye on the fitness of in-form batsman Joe Root – who appeared to be in discomfort at practice with tightness in his groin.

Published: Monday 15th December 2014 by The News Editor

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