Jennings thrilled at Sangakkara joining Durham

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DURHAM batsman Keaton Jennings is delighted that Kumar Sangakkara has joined the club, even though the Sri Lankan legend could temporarily cost him his role as opener.

Jennings has become first-choice opener along with limited-overs skipper Mark Stoneman, having broken into the team last season.

But with Durham yesterday announcing that Sangakkara (right) had signed on for two County Championship games - the upcoming matches with Yorkshire and Sussex - Jennings could possibly lose his opening role, albeit for just two games.

That might seem harsh on the 21-year-old, who so far this term has had innings of 80 and 41 against Somerset, and followed that up with a half century against Northamptonshire.

But like most of his team-mates, Jennings is just looking forward to working alongside the World Cup-winning star.

“He’s a great player, who has performed at the top level,” he said.

“It’s very exciting to get to work alongside somebody of his stature, and everybody can’t wait to welcome him to the club.

“Obviously he’s an opening batsman, so that brings added pressure and competition.

“But he’s a great player, and hopefully me and the other young players can benefit from his experience.”

Following his two matches for Durham, Sangakkara will link up with his national team as they prepare for the Royal London One-Day International series against England, which begins in May – the third match being held at the Emirates ICG in Chester-le-Street.

Sangakkara, who has represented Sri Lanka more than 500 times, averages over 50 with the bat in both Test and first class cricket.

Speaking about his short stint at Durham, he said: “I’m really looking forward to returning to county cricket with Durham and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity.

“I actually made my debut for Warwickshire against Durham back in 2007 - I scored a few runs that day, so I’m hoping to make amends this time around!”

Head Coach Jon Lewis added: “I said that if we could pull off this signing it would be a big bonus and it is. To attract a player of Kumar Sangakkara’s quality to Durham is fantastic, and I’ve been really impressed by his eagerness to join us.”

“In his short stay, I’m sure he’ll be a big asset - not just with his performances, but with the example he will show our crop of fine young cricketers.”