England batsman Keaton Jennings says he felt “like a goldfish in a bowl” thanks to the intense scrutiny he was under after a poor run of form.
The opener scored a century on his debut in 2016 but went 22 innings without another before he scored 146 not out in the first Test in Sri Lanka.
“At times you feel incredible heat being around the Test environment,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“You feel like the world is on top of you. That’s the intensity you feel.”
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Jennings, 26, scored 112 in Mumbai two years ago but lost his place after averaging just 15.87 against South Africa the summer after.
He was left out of the Ashes squad last winter, but was recalled to face Pakistan and India this summer where he averaged 19.20.
England kept faith with Jennings to open in Sri Lanka alongside debutant Rory Burns, and the Lancashire player followed up his 46 in the first innings with a big score to put Joe Root’s side in total control. He says that a balanced life away from the game has helped him to cope.
‘I was panicking over coffee’
“It is very satisfying to score a hundred,” he said.
“To keep sane and continue to back yourself is key. I look at guys like Joe Root, Alastair Cook, guys who do it for such a long period of time. You have to bluff yourself that you’re still a really good player. To come out and do it again and again is what you need as a international cricketer.
“It is like being a goldfish in a bowl at times, you are floating around with people poking you to do things and just watching you.
“At the back end of last year I woke up and was panicking over what pot of coffee to put on, that’s the intensity.
“There is nothing there but it’s in your mind, you create an atmosphere of tension. I have tried to find a lot of happiness outside of cricket, keep that balance emotionally.”