Sir Alastair Cook has given his thoughts on Zak Crawley’s struggles after the England opener was out for another single-figure score against New Zealand
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Zak Crawley’s Test match career has been a case of feast or famine so far, with the England opener going big for a stunning double century against Pakistan in 2020 and a brilliant hundred against the West Indies in March.
However, there were a litany of single-figure scores in between those two innings and five in his seven innings since that ton in Antigua. Crawley has found himself largely getting out on the drive, either caught behind or in the slips and he was once again out caught behind for a single-figure score in England’s first innings in the second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge.
It was a brilliant delivery by Trent Boult, but an all too familiar dismissal for Crawley, who now averages just 27.87 in 23 Tests. Since making his debut in 2019, Crawley has edged 8% of his deliveries according to CricViz, with no other opener edging a higher percentage in that time.
And legendary England opener Sir Alastair Cook believes the 24-year-old is struggling around his off-stump, with his tendency to go for big drives early in his innings a big scoring shot but also one that has often got him out.
Speaking on BBC Test Match Special about Crawley’s struggles, Cook said: “I think a lot of it must be down to Crawley’s judgment on and around the off-stump. Better judgment when leaving the ball better would help.
“But it’s hard when one of your main scoring shots is also one of your main weaknesses. That’s a hard conundrum to get over.
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“A front-foot drive in Test cricket early on in your innings is a high-risk shot no matter who you’re playing and certainly in England it is. But when he scores so many runs with it, it becomes a really hard balance to get. “
Speaking before the series, former England captain Nasser Hussain warned that Crawley needed a score or he faced being dropped. “It’s a massive two games for Zak Crawley,” he told Sky Sports.
“Because I see Ben Compton got another hundred against the touring side New Zealand – he’s getting runs for fun. Sam Robson has come back and done very well in the last couple of years, there’s also the lad Tom Haines down at Sussex [both averaging over 50 in 2022] – Rob Key has spoken about him – so there are two or three opening batters out there who are pushing for selection. “