Leading man: Keaton Jennings secures captain's armband for England Lions tour

KEATON JENNINGS has been named England Lions' captain for their tour of Sri Lanka early next year.

England's batsman Keaton Jennings. Picture: AP/Rafiq Maqbool

The Durham opener scored a century on his Test debut against India in Mumbai last week and will get another chance to impress the national selectors when the Lions face Sri Lanka A in a four-day and 50-over series in February and March.

Fellow batsmen Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett, who also made their Test debuts this winter, are included in the travelling party, who will play two four-day games and five 50-over contests.

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Jennings, who was the leading run-scorer in County Championship Division One last season, but was only flown out to join England’s touring party on the subcontinent after Hameed broke his hand, will lead the side in both formats.

Head coach Trevor Bayliss, meanwhile, has described ongoing speculation about Alastair Cook’s future as England captain as a “pain in the backside”.

The continued longevity of Cook’s tenure is a topic that will not go away and both he and England coach Bayliss again found themselves answering a barrage of questions on the subject after the tourists’ innings defeat in Mumbai on Monday confirmed a series defeat.

Bayliss voiced his backing for Cook, as he and several senior players have done at various stages of the tour, and was asked too if it is easy to stop the conjecture affecting England’s dressing-room.

“Well, that’s what you try to do,” he said.

“But when it’s constantly in the media all the time, it’s a bit of a pain in the backside – especially when no one else (around the team) actually believes that or thinks that.

“It’s a little bit aggravating and takes the focus away from all the good things we’ve done on this tour.”