West Indies' loss as eager England bring Chris Jordan up to speed

'It would be quite special, probably a little weird to play against the Windies,' says fast bowler


There could and should have been mixed feelings about Chris Jordan's sterling work for England on Sunday. His fast and purposeful bowling was one of the few bright spots in another defeat to Australia in the opening match of the one-day series.

Jordan, who has worked his socks off to reach this point, would seem to have a future. But the sentiment persists that this should be with West Indies where he spent his formative years and who could undoubtedly do with his skills.

He came to England when he was awarded a scholarship at Dulwich College. This sounds the model of generosity and support, which in a way it is, but it has also deprived the Caribbean of an undoubted talent.

"Dulwich started a programme where they brought a West Indian kid over every two years on a scholarship," said Jordan after England landed in Canbarra for an exhibition match on Tuesday against the Prime Minister's XI which oddly breaks up the one-day series. "Because the guy before me was such a success, they decided to continue with it.

"Bill Athey, the school cricket coach, comes over for a Rumsey tournament every year. I played in a game there more or less as a triallist, took an entrance examination which I passed and was awarded a scholarship to Dulwich College. That was aged 15-16."

Of course, it was all above board and meeting Jordan's dad in Barbados four years ago he was delighted at the chances his son was being offered. He would, he said, be the fastest bowler in the world. Still, it cannot quite dispel the notion of the old colonial power coming to claim what it wants.

Jordan spent much of his youth at the Kensington Oval in Barbados and remembers being one of the kids who knocked up with Brian Lara at the end of a day's play. The bowlers he looked up to were Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

"From a young age, as long as I got international honours, that was my goal," he said. "But since I've been in England for quite a while – my mum was born in England as well and has that connection – I decided to try to play for England.

"I live in England and plan to stay there, of course now I've started playing international cricket." West Indies, he said, had not really approached him, which makes their administrators look a tad nonchalant.

Jordan signed for Surrey after leaving Dulwich but his career hit a slump after a bright start. A move to Sussex last year under the enthusiastic pair of Mark Robinson and Mark Davies appears to have revitalised him and he played for England late last summer.

He went to primary school in Barbados with Rihanna but expects no repercussions should he return one day playing cricket for England. This is likely as early as March when England are in Barbados and Antigua for series of one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches.

"It would be quite special, probably a little weird initially because I've played most of my childhood in the West Indies," he said. "I'm not entirely sure, I'll have to see when I get there, if I do get there. A lot of my family are still based there and my mum lives there now. I get loads of support from them daily, weekly, monthly, all the year round. So my family will be backing me."

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