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Eng vs NZ 2021 – Zak Crawley shows England’s batting woes in young line-up


By the time Zak Crawley completed his epic 267 at the Ageas Bowl last August, it appeared England had found a young player of significant ability.

It wasn’t just the size of the innings that impressed. It was the range of stroke, the assured way he dealt with periods of pressure and the timing that seemed to have the ball racing to the boundary. It was an innings that bore the hallmark of real class.

But Chumbawamba probably thought there were on the brink of great things after their song, Tubthumping, was a huge hit in 1997. The follow-up just wouldn’t come. Sometimes we’re nearer our destination than we think.

Crawley may well still have a great future at this level. He’s only 23, after all, and, even now, there aren’t too many obvious flaws in his game. His technical game, anyway.

But he is clearly struggling for confidence. And here, having been surprised by a fine inswinger from Neil Wagner the previous ball (he intended to leave it, but felt obliged to jab his bat down at the last moment as it veered towards his off stump), he was drawn into a prod at the following delivery.

This time the ball – whether by design or natural variation – went straight on. Crawley could – should, really – have left it. His timid prod produced only an edge to the cordon.

It was not so dissimilar at Lord’s. While his first innings dismissal – wafting at a wide one – was ugly, the reasoning wasn’t so bad: it wasn’t a great ball. His mistake was a failure to move his front foot and, perhaps, an impatience to play himself in. Had he attempted the stroke when he had 25, he may well have picked up a boundary. But on two? The percentages were far less in his favour.

In the second innings at Lord’s, he had been tied down for half-an-hour in making two runs. That should have been fine: England were battling for a draw, after all. But it appeared to leave Crawley skittish. As a result, he was just a little too eager to push – bat far in front of pad – at one which left him. Again, it resulted in an edge to the cordon.


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