Jordan at home in England colours

Andover Advertiser: Chris Jordan is back in familiar surroundings at the Kensington Oval Chris Jordan is back in familiar surroundings at the Kensington Oval

Chris Jordan still recalls watching from the stands at the Kensington Oval, playing on the outfield and then - as a teenager - taking part in the first match at the refurbished ground.

Barbados-born Jordan is hoping to return to England's team on Sunday to face his native country in the first of three Twenty20s here.

If he does, the 25-year-old pace bowler will inevitably be revisiting many old memories as well as hoping to create some new ones - in front of longstanding well-wishers.

He knows that perhaps not everyone in a partisan crowd - there are a few English supporters in town too, however - will be right behind him.

But friends and family very much come first for Jordan, who travelled to England as a teenager after former England batsman Bill Athey spotted his talent on a reconnaissance trip to identify a scholarship student at Dulwich College.

From there, Jordan joined Surrey, Sussex and eventually England.

Asked if he will mind the nature of the crowd reaction if he takes Windies wickets, or smacks a few late runs this weekend, he said: "It's pretty irrelevant really.

"As long as my friends and my family are backing me, that's honestly all that matters."

He knows some of his old school friends - pop superstar Rihanna is among them, but not expected to be back here on Sunday - may find the situation a little unusual.

"If anyone, they'll probably find it a bit strange," he said.

"But 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 is delighted to be back 'home', a trip he still makes regularly.

"It's a very nice feeling. It's also time to come and see my family and a lot of my friends that I grew up with," he said.

"I'm sure they'll be at the games supporting me."

It was with family and friends that he had his early cricket experiences at this very venue - back in the days when all were supporting Barbados, or the Windies.

"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," he said.

"I really do remember it."

This famous ground was turned into a stadium for the 2007 World Cup - and before Australia won that tournament here, against Sri Lanka in the final, Jordan himself was among those who first road-tested facilities.

"It has changed so much," he said.

"I actually played the first game on this ground as it is now, a pitch-testing game.

"It was a select team, under-15s."

A decade later, he finds himself in a very different situation - but one which gives him great pleasure.

"(I'm) very proud actually," he said of the prospect of playing for England against his native country so close to where he was born.

"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."

It is one he has never been tempted to revisit, even when his initial breakthrough in England stalled because of injury - and two trips back to play for Barbados in the winter months yielded more encouraging results.

By then, Jordan was already an overseas player in his own country, so it would have been difficult to have a rethink.

"I came back and played some first-class cricket for Barbados, as an overseas player, and did okay," he said.

Whoever he plays for, though, he knows his family will be behind him.

"100%. They back me whatever I do."

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