Keaton Jennings has arrived at Emirates Old Trafford on a four-year deal with the aim of taking himself and Lancashire to “new heights”.
Jennings, a left-handed opening batsman who could yet start Red Rose life batting at three, has had a taste of Test cricket with England and certainly wants more.
At 25-year-old, he has plenty of time ahead of him to achieve success at the top level.
For now, he will aim to contribute heavily to a Lancashire side who finished second in the County Championship in 2017.
A patient batsman with a well rounded game, Jennings was born in Johannesburg and is the son of former South Africa coach Ray. His mother is from Sunderland.
Like Ray, Keaton’s uncle Kenneth and brother Dylan both played first-class cricket in South Africa.
Jennings captained South Africa under 19s in 2011, and he debuted in first-class cricket for Gauteng and played second XI and Academy cricket for Durham that same year.
He threw his lot in with the North East county the following year, starting a four-year England qualification period.
Jennings earned his first-class debut for Durham against Surrey in August 2012 and went onto score 70 against Lancashire in his third first-class match for the Riversiders.
He scored the first of 14 first-class centuries against Derbyshire in 2013 and was the leading run-scorer in the County Championship in 2016 with 1,548 runs, including six hundreds and a double ton against Yorkshire (that’s one way of endearing yourself to the Lancashire faithful!).
Jennings, a handy medium pacer, also scored a career best 88 in the NatWest T20 Blast final against Northamptonshire during the same season, although it could not prevent defeat.
He captained Durham’s one-day team in 2017 having led the Lions during their tour of Sri Lanka earlier in the year. He also captained the North team in the ECB’s inaugural North v South one-day series.
His Test debut came against India at Mumbai in December 2016 as a replacement for injured Haseeb Hameed, a man he could open the batting with at Lancashire.
And he scored a superb 112, becoming just the 19th England batsman to score a century on Test debut, following names such as WG Grace, Graham Thorpe, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott.
He held down a place for the subsequent summer series against his native South Africa, although only scored one fifty in four matches and lost his place to former Durham team-mate Mark Stoneman.
However, it would be a major surprise if he doesn’t add to his current tally of six Test appearances.
“I’m excited to work with Glen Chapple,” added Jennings, who has 5,345 first-class runs to his name and is closing in on 100 career appearances.
“I remember facing him as a player and thinking 'this guy can really play’. So, as a batsman, I’m looking forward to picking his brain. He was a fantastic cricketer, and from what I have heard from the lads already, he is great being in charge too.
“The challenge of cricket stays the same. As a batsman, you are facing a ball, trying to hit it the same way. But now this is a new environment and challenge. Hopefully it will kick me on to new heights.
“I was really excited when I walked through the gates as a Lancashire player.
“I’m a very driven guy. I’m a very energetic guy, so I will be throwing my whole lot in to make this move a success.
“When one chapter closes, another one starts. It's a new fresh start. Life is a book, and you need to close chapters and open new ones. It brings new challenges, new ideas, new feelings.”