Will Jacks looks at positives after England central contract snub

The big-hitting all-rounder found out he did not have a deal through social media.

David Charlesworth
Saturday 02 December 2023 18:00 GMT
Will Jacks is still aiming for a central contract with England (PA)
Will Jacks is still aiming for a central contract with England (PA)

Will Jacks might be one of the figures charged with leading England’s ODI revival but he discovered he had missed out on a central contract through social media.

A total of 29 individuals received an annual, multi-year or developmental England deal in October but despite playing in every international format in the last 12 months, Jacks was curiously absent from the bunch.

Even more striking is Jacks’ admission that he was not forewarned by director of men’s cricket Rob Key ahead of an announcement, the timing of which midway through a faltering World Cup was criticised.

Jacks has since had some feedback about the snub but the big-hitting all-rounder takes the positives from not being tied down and is likely to explore the lucrative T20 franchise market in the next few months.

Representing England remains his top priority, though, and he has been tasked with opening the batting alongside Phil Salt, who also did not get a central contract, as Jos Buttler’s ODI side look to draw a line under a woeful World Cup in the series opener against the West Indies on Sunday.

“It’s a bit of a difficult one, I didn’t really find out at all,” he said. “I knew everyone was hearing and I was waiting, hoping I would find out and then I didn’t. I ended up seeing it on Twitter like everyone else did and that was obviously disappointing.

“Maybe it came one or two tours early and maybe if I’d played a little bit more, maybe I would have had one. They said it is always about why other people have one above me which is understandable, nothing really negative about me.

“It’s just what it is and I just want to move on. You never know, it could work in my favour. It means I’m free to plan my winter and my life but I will be using this tour and hopefully the rest of the year to prove my case to hopefully get one for next year.”

Jacks has made a dozen appearances in his embryonic international career but his fearless approach with the bat and ever-improving off-spin make him an appealing option for England’s next Test assignment in India in the new year.

But Jacks has committed himself to the SA20 – South Africa’s domestic T20 competition – which clashes with the five-match series on the subcontinent.

“Obviously England is the pinnacle and I want to play as much as I can but what (not getting a contract) has done is it’s almost managed my expectations,” Jacks said.

“The India Test matches have obviously been in the back of everyone’s mind for the recent period – such a massive series and there’s all the talk about spin and the need for all-rounders and having a deep squad.

“Instead of me thinking that I was going to be picked, I’m now thinking ‘if they wanted to pick me then realistically, I would have been given a contract’. The fact that they haven’t given me one probably says something.”

Jacks is set to be in India at some point early in 2024, having been one of nine Englishmen retained by their Indian Premier League franchises, despite a thigh injury ruling him out of contention for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year.

Having missed out on England’s miserable defence of their 50-over World Cup, Jacks is desperate to be involved in the T20 equivalent in the Caribbean in June.

The 25-year-old is therefore eager to take his chance on a reconnaissance job in these three ODIs followed by three T20s.

“I just want to play some cricket,” he added. “I love playing for England but if I’m not selected then I’m very happy playing T20 cricket.

“There’s a World Cup coming up in June here so it will be good to get used to these conditions and that’s a priority for me.”

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