England in West Indies 2013-14 March 7, 2014

Jordan returns to old Barbados haunts

ESPNcricinfo staff
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If Bill Athey, the former England batsman, had not gone on a reconnaissance trip to Barbados to seek out a potential cricketer for a scholarship at Dulwich College, Chris Jordan might conceivably have been lining up for West Indies against England in Barbados on Sunday.

Kensington Oval, after all, was where Jordan watched from the stands, played on the outfield in front of the old media box and even took part in the first match after the ground had been refurbished in time for the 2007 World Cup.

But Athey liked what he saw and Jordan found himself living among the unaccustomed splendour of Dulwich College, an independent school in South East London which is approaching its 400th anniversary, where England and Sri Lanka trained during the Champions Trophy last summer, and where there are comfortably more artificial outdoor cricket pitches than any county ground in the land.

At 25, and with the best year of his career behind him, Jordan is strong enough to cope with the inevitable consequence of his change of allegiance, knowing that, if he wins a place in the final XI in the first of three Twenty20 internationals on Sunday, for every well-wisher there could be a partisan West Indies who will be happy to see him fall flat on his face.

But his task in the three Twenty20 internationals at Kensington Oval is to get his preparations for World Twenty20 in Bangladesh right on track and contribute to the lifting of morale in an England side that has gained some release with a 2-1 ODI series win in Antigua, but which few people regard as serious challengers in World Twenty20.

Jordan waved aside the crowd reaction he might face as "pretty irrelevant really," adding "As long as my friends and my family are backing me, that's honestly all that matters. It doesn't matter who I play for at the end of the day, my family and friends will back me 100 per cent and that's all that matters.''

Jordan still returns regularly to Barbados to look up old friends and old haunts. After he practiced at Kensington Oval, he recalled: "I used to sit down in the old press box - and as these kids are doing now, I used to go on the field at lunchtimes and have little games. I really do remember it.''

The ground had quite a makeover for the World Cup, turning from a homely ground with a stirring tradition to a sports stadium. As the renovations took place, Jordan himself was among those who first experienced the changing atmosphere from the middle. "It has changed so much," he said.

For all the stirred memories, he says he remains proud of his return with England to his native land. "I'm very proud actually,'' he said. "Obviously I grew up here ... but I went to England and learned most of my trade there. I'm more than happy with the decision I've made.''

Injury problems disrupted his development in England, and only when he moved from Surrey to Sussex for the 2013 season did he really make a breakthrough. In that phase of his career, he had better fortune for Barbados - but by then he was classified as an overseas player. There would be no thoughts of going back.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    Have you seen the shots he played off Dwayne Bravo in the final t20 at kensington Oval? Not the shots of an average cricketer

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 9, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    @Coolcapricorn: Of course Jordan chose to come to England: he didn't have to accept the scholarship. It's not as if Bill Athey drugged him and smuggled him into the country against his will.

  • POSTED BY PACERONE on | March 9, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    He will suffer the same fate as Bopara and Panaseur.He will have to perform constantly.Any failure will be detrimental.

  • POSTED BY Coolcapricorn on | March 9, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Yet another overseas cricketer poached by England but not one from SA this time! Contrary to what some others say, he didn't emigrate to England & then broke through into the England team with his talent & performances on the County circuit. He was a young Barbadian & brought over by Bill Athey on a cricketing scholarship as this articles says - which is a totally different scenario! Anyway as an Indian fan, we too could desperately do with poaching a couple of young & talented West Indian or Pakistani fast bowlers! :)))

  • POSTED BY Iddo555 on | March 9, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    He Looks to be pretty average anyway. Probably should have played for the West indies because I'm not sure how much play he will get for England. Looked poor in the one day game he played a week ago and was quickly dropped.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 22:57 GMT

    he'd probably won't have made our side though, he's quite average. I'm sorry and i doh hold any illusions of where WI cricket is but i doh see what's the fuss abt him. beaton,holder, cottrel and shannon all i put B4 him in terms of talent

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 8, 2014, 19:21 GMT

    No-one forced Jordan to emigrate: it was his own choice.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    There's a general mixing of nationalities, it's not just England.

    "with the best year of his career behind him" - how can the writer know that?

  • POSTED BY thebolivian on | March 8, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    1/8 who live in Britain were born overseas. More opportunities, better wages and fairer less corrupt systems in place attract people from across the world.

    I can't begrudge those who want to take up that opportunity or England for selecting those who are available to play for England.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    Jordan learned to bat, bowl, and field in Barbados, where he was on his way to an international career, to say he was developed in England is ridiculous, he improved but wasn't developed there. As for England poaching players its shameful.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    Have you seen the shots he played off Dwayne Bravo in the final t20 at kensington Oval? Not the shots of an average cricketer

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 9, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    @Coolcapricorn: Of course Jordan chose to come to England: he didn't have to accept the scholarship. It's not as if Bill Athey drugged him and smuggled him into the country against his will.

  • POSTED BY PACERONE on | March 9, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    He will suffer the same fate as Bopara and Panaseur.He will have to perform constantly.Any failure will be detrimental.

  • POSTED BY Coolcapricorn on | March 9, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Yet another overseas cricketer poached by England but not one from SA this time! Contrary to what some others say, he didn't emigrate to England & then broke through into the England team with his talent & performances on the County circuit. He was a young Barbadian & brought over by Bill Athey on a cricketing scholarship as this articles says - which is a totally different scenario! Anyway as an Indian fan, we too could desperately do with poaching a couple of young & talented West Indian or Pakistani fast bowlers! :)))

  • POSTED BY Iddo555 on | March 9, 2014, 13:42 GMT

    He Looks to be pretty average anyway. Probably should have played for the West indies because I'm not sure how much play he will get for England. Looked poor in the one day game he played a week ago and was quickly dropped.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 22:57 GMT

    he'd probably won't have made our side though, he's quite average. I'm sorry and i doh hold any illusions of where WI cricket is but i doh see what's the fuss abt him. beaton,holder, cottrel and shannon all i put B4 him in terms of talent

  • POSTED BY nursery_ender on | March 8, 2014, 19:21 GMT

    No-one forced Jordan to emigrate: it was his own choice.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    There's a general mixing of nationalities, it's not just England.

    "with the best year of his career behind him" - how can the writer know that?

  • POSTED BY thebolivian on | March 8, 2014, 13:48 GMT

    1/8 who live in Britain were born overseas. More opportunities, better wages and fairer less corrupt systems in place attract people from across the world.

    I can't begrudge those who want to take up that opportunity or England for selecting those who are available to play for England.

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    Jordan learned to bat, bowl, and field in Barbados, where he was on his way to an international career, to say he was developed in England is ridiculous, he improved but wasn't developed there. As for England poaching players its shameful.

  • POSTED BY pom_don on | March 8, 2014, 12:18 GMT

    @ Mitch_cricket funny you mention Symonds I remember a certain Andrew Symonds playing for Aus......born in Birmingham!

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | March 8, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    It is really distasteful to see Jordan criticised here. It is a very different case from that of KP, say, who for perfectly understandable reasons (reflecting quotas) nevertheless made a cold and calculating decision to switch allegiance from South Africa, and clearly (tats notwithstanding) still feels South African. Jordan's cricket was developed in England, while studying in England. As a cricketer he is English, just as, say, the Vunipola brothers are English as rugby players. The key thing is not where you were born, but where you developed as a cricketer. I object to England's poaching of Irish cricketers (and hope this will stop when Ireland are given test status), but if an Irish lad learns his cricket in England from the age of, say, 15 to 18 and opts to throw in his lot with England, that strikes me as fair. I am less happy about, say, the fast tracking of immigrant Asian spinners by Oz and SA, or England's poaching of southern hemisphere batsmen who arrive as adults.

  • POSTED BY Puffin on | March 8, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    This situation shows (again) some uncomfortable things about modern cricket.

    How and why the centre of the cricketing world is heading east. This "Poaching" is just a symptom.

  • POSTED BY LeeJA on | March 8, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    I assume most of those having a pop out there are not English...

    How do we define the country a player should play for? Where he was born? Where his parents were born? Where his parents parents where born? How many generations do you want to go back (we could go back really far if you want and the dutch would have an awesome team)... Where he learnt how to play cricket? Where he has spent the majority of his career? The nation of his spouse (Tahir?)?

    As an Englishman, as long as a player gives his all for us I don't really care where they were born. Given the UK is a multicultural, diverse country we are used to embracing other nationalities...I get the impression on here others aren't as accepting or other countries are jealous! Either way it's a shame!

  • POSTED BY roddybee on | March 8, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    A country of nearly 60 mill poaching from one with 6, england should be ashamed. But hey ho The Indians may start poaching players from england, bet you it would soon get banned

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    I don't think English cricket is helping the other cricketing nations by poaching players off them and for every foreign player we use that's one more British player who is passed over

  • POSTED BY Mitch_cricket on | March 8, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    This is sad...when will England stop this habit making themselves a better team by pulling players from other countries..If you don't have that much talent pool, might as well develop it rather than substituting for it! Imagine what England will be without the likes of KP, Trott, Symonds and some more...Pool 2 probably?

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 8, 2014, 0:53 GMT

    No matter how you look at it, Chris Jordan is West Indian. He ain't English. He's just a mercenary who would have taken any good deal coming his way. It's the same story with England's Irish cricketers and South Africans.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2014, 23:46 GMT

    I think it to be very poor that England with all their resources filch and steal players from less well off countries. Underhand and pathetic. Post Imperialism?

  • POSTED BY markatnotts on | March 7, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    An interesting article, I do wish Chris all the best and can see how bad this looks. But would he have developed to the level he did by not coming to England, the teenage years are the most important? Also let us not forget a certain WI opener born in London.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    gayle will set u rite na show off wid england

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  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    gayle will set u rite na show off wid england

  • POSTED BY markatnotts on | March 7, 2014, 21:07 GMT

    An interesting article, I do wish Chris all the best and can see how bad this looks. But would he have developed to the level he did by not coming to England, the teenage years are the most important? Also let us not forget a certain WI opener born in London.

  • POSTED BY on | March 7, 2014, 23:46 GMT

    I think it to be very poor that England with all their resources filch and steal players from less well off countries. Underhand and pathetic. Post Imperialism?

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 8, 2014, 0:53 GMT

    No matter how you look at it, Chris Jordan is West Indian. He ain't English. He's just a mercenary who would have taken any good deal coming his way. It's the same story with England's Irish cricketers and South Africans.

  • POSTED BY Mitch_cricket on | March 8, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    This is sad...when will England stop this habit making themselves a better team by pulling players from other countries..If you don't have that much talent pool, might as well develop it rather than substituting for it! Imagine what England will be without the likes of KP, Trott, Symonds and some more...Pool 2 probably?

  • POSTED BY on | March 8, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    I don't think English cricket is helping the other cricketing nations by poaching players off them and for every foreign player we use that's one more British player who is passed over

  • POSTED BY roddybee on | March 8, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    A country of nearly 60 mill poaching from one with 6, england should be ashamed. But hey ho The Indians may start poaching players from england, bet you it would soon get banned

  • POSTED BY LeeJA on | March 8, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    I assume most of those having a pop out there are not English...

    How do we define the country a player should play for? Where he was born? Where his parents were born? Where his parents parents where born? How many generations do you want to go back (we could go back really far if you want and the dutch would have an awesome team)... Where he learnt how to play cricket? Where he has spent the majority of his career? The nation of his spouse (Tahir?)?

    As an Englishman, as long as a player gives his all for us I don't really care where they were born. Given the UK is a multicultural, diverse country we are used to embracing other nationalities...I get the impression on here others aren't as accepting or other countries are jealous! Either way it's a shame!

  • POSTED BY Puffin on | March 8, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    This situation shows (again) some uncomfortable things about modern cricket.

    How and why the centre of the cricketing world is heading east. This "Poaching" is just a symptom.

  • POSTED BY glance_to_leg on | March 8, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    It is really distasteful to see Jordan criticised here. It is a very different case from that of KP, say, who for perfectly understandable reasons (reflecting quotas) nevertheless made a cold and calculating decision to switch allegiance from South Africa, and clearly (tats notwithstanding) still feels South African. Jordan's cricket was developed in England, while studying in England. As a cricketer he is English, just as, say, the Vunipola brothers are English as rugby players. The key thing is not where you were born, but where you developed as a cricketer. I object to England's poaching of Irish cricketers (and hope this will stop when Ireland are given test status), but if an Irish lad learns his cricket in England from the age of, say, 15 to 18 and opts to throw in his lot with England, that strikes me as fair. I am less happy about, say, the fast tracking of immigrant Asian spinners by Oz and SA, or England's poaching of southern hemisphere batsmen who arrive as adults.