Whether moving from Barbados to England as a schoolboy, or reviving his career after a double stress fracture and rejection by Surrey, 25-year-old Chris Jordan has shown marked resilience to adapt and improve. After a successful one-day series against Sri Lanka and call-up to the England Test squad, the Sussex all-rounder talks about the influences and inspirations that have guided his career…
Growing up in Barbados, describe your early cricketing memories...
My dad, Robert, encouraged me and taught me the basics. I started playing at four-years-old and my first club was Spartan Juniors. Even at under-9 level it is was competitive.
Then you had a big switch to live and study in Dulwich College in London in 2006?
My mum grew up here and we used to come over in the summers but going to an all-boys boarding school was a change in culture. In Barbados, I enjoyed flying fish, rice and peas, macaroni pie, special homemade and sweet potato salad. Over here, people don’t cook with the same spices and seasoning. Eating grilled chicken breast, white potatoes and brown rice wasn’t quite the same.
Why did you opt to play for England ahead of the West Indies?
The bulk of my development as a cricketer was in this country. I came through the English system and have been on the Lions tour. It’s a decision I’m very happy with.
Who were the biggest influences on your cricketing career?
Bill Athey, the former England cricketer, coached at Dulwich and made sure I stayed on the straight and narrow. My scholarship wasn’t just for cricket, I had to pass an entrance exam and be academically sound too. As a kid, I used to go to the Kensington Oval and watch West Indies, looking up to stars like Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose.
How did you cope with being sidelined because of injury and released by Surrey?
The double stress fracture of my back in 2010 was the first time I’d been injured. I spent 16 weeks on the sidelines and a lot of time soul-searching. If I hadn’t trusted that things would turn a corner, I don’t think I’d be here now.
The English public takes great all-rounders like Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff to its heart. How do you feel about following in their footsteps?
Very privileged, it’s always nice when people say nice things about you. Those two are legends of the game and I’m just trying to create my own identity. Hopefully, some people might class Chris Jordan as another great England all-rounder one day.
Finally, what’s your favourite cricketing dish?
Overseas it has to be the food at the Kensington Oval: rice, peas and plantain, some nice jerk chicken and flying fish. In England, I enjoy baked salmon with sweet potatoes, carrots and broccoli. I think a lot of guys save tucking into dessert for when they play at Lord’s. In the one-day international against Sri Lanka, we had cookies and cream cheesecake - it was like Christmas in a bowl!
Would you prefer an international century with the bat or five wickets with the ball this summer?
That’s a very tough question, can I have both?