SUSSEX star Chris Jordan is looking forward to continuing his remarkable rise with England in their five-Test series against India – which includes one game at the ground where he began his international career.
The 25-year-old played his first game for England in an ODI against Australia at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl last September – taking the prized wicket of Michael Clarke in his first over.
Since then he has gone on to become one of the few players these days to represent England in Tests, ODIs and T20s – an incredible achievement for a player whose county career was proving a struggle before his switch from Surrey to Sussex for the 2013 season.
Jordan, who now has two Tests, 13 ODIs and seven T20 internationals behind him, visited Ageas Bowl to look ahead to the India series and to coach some local budding young cricketers in line with the ECB’s attempts to get a new generation interested in playing and watching the game.
Reflecting on his new status as an England regular, Jordan said: “It’s been enjoyable. There have been a few ups and downs team-wise but the last 12 months have been brilliant for me since I made my debut here.
“This ground holds very fond memories for me. I got a wicket in my first over and got Michael Clarke out. I ended up with three wickets.
“It’s a brilliant ground with brilliant facilities and it’s evolving all the time. It’s a great place to play cricket.
“The third Test here will be very important as it’s the third of a five Test series. The home support will be in favour and hopefully we will be moving from strength to strength. Hopefully we will come up with a win and win the series.”
There was a cloud over the England dressing room as they crashed to a 5-0 Ashes defeat down under last winter but Jordan is part of a new-look squad and said it was a happy squad to be in. And he said they felt unlucky to have lost the recent Sri Lanka Test series 1-0 when they were close to winning the first game and drawing the second.
“Mooresy (Peter Moores) has created an environment in which players are relaxed and can express themselves as best they can and play their natural game,” Jordan said.
“It (the Sri Lanka series) was fine margins. Everyone who came in - myself, Moheen Ali, Gary Ballance and Sam Robson - put their hand up and showed they could compete at this level.
“That bodes well for the team because with the experience of Alistair Cook, Ian Bell, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, it’s a really good mix and the guys are really enjoying each other’s company and wanting each other to do well. Hopefully that can turn into some positive results.”
He added: “As you saw in the last Test series, we were very close to winning it, but for a few key moments. That would have made everyone stronger and we’d be better off for that experience.
“But we can draw on that in the future and if we get into that situation again we can be in the position of coming out on top.
“England and India are two very good sides who will be on show and there’ll be loads of punches thrown throughout that five-Test series. The team that land the better punches will come out on top and hopefully that’s England.
“I haven’t played against them (India) but I’ve seen a lot of them on TV and there’s a lot of very talented players in that team, especially batsmen, and we’ll have to be on top of our game to take 20 wickets in each game.”
Jordan said he’d done a lot of work on his batting strike rate and ability to hit sixes and had also worked on the consistency of his bowling since breaking into the England fold.
And he admitted his move to Sussex after Surrey released him in 2012 had been pivotal to his step into the international arena.
“From day one when I walked into the club, everyone helped me settle off the field which in turn helped me get on with matters on the field, which was really important,” he said.
“Making that move, I had to hit the ground running and I did, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve kept going from strength to strength. Now I’ve got to keep my head down and stay focused.”
Sussex could perhaps have done with seeing more of Jordan than they have this season, with their county championship campaign turning into a battle to stay in division one and their T20 Blast campaign a hit-and-miss affair which has left them with a bit to do to qualify for the last eight.
“I’ve been keeping touch with them and when I’m playing for England, the boys wish me luck,” he said.
“At the minute, we’re not doing as well as we’d like, but it’s not horrendous. We’ve just strung together a couple of results in the T20 and hopefully we can get a bit of momentum there.
“As far as the championship is concerneed, you get one win or two wins and you can climb a couple of places. As long as the guys remain focused and keep believing that they can turn it around, I’m sure they’ll be all right. Robbo’s creating the best environment possible for everyone to do that. I’m sure we’ll get it right and come good.”
Meanwhile Hampshire are keen to attract plenty of young fans to their July 27-July 31 Test. They’re putting on magicians, laser quests and fun-fair attractions over the five days, and giving children the chance to sign up for free coaching from professionals.
Hampshire commercial director Stuart Robertson said: “We believe we are the Test match venue for the next generation. A Test match between England and India is the biggest game we’ve hosted at the Ageas Bowl and we want to use the opportunity to introduce Test cricket to a new, younger audience.”
* To purchase tickets for England’s Third Investec Test match v India at the Ageas Bowl, starting on Sunday, July 27, visit www.ageasbowl.com , call 0844 847 1863 or visit the ticketing and membership office during normal office hours.