Zak Crawley: England’s opening game slump was a real test for the new era of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum | cricket news

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Nasser Hussain watches Zak Crawley’s wicket and believes the repetitive nature of his dismissals could become a concern for the coaching staff.

Nasser Hussain watches Zak Crawley’s wicket and believes the repetitive nature of his dismissals could become a concern for the coaching staff.

England opener Zak Crawley’s Test match struggles continued on the second day of the Edgbaston Test against India as he recorded his ninth single-figure score from 11 Test innings.

The 24-year-old right-hander from Kent received public backing from head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes but, after his latest failure with the bat, pundits from Sky Sports and former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton discussed how long he can stick with it and what needs to change for him to be successful.

Given the brand of attacking cricket favored by the new regime, Crawley’s bold approach would seem ideal and Hussain believes that’s part of what will make dealing with the opener’s drop challenging.

“It’s a real test for this new era, and McCullum and Stokes, because they’ve given Crawley their backing and that’s how they want to play their cricket,” he said.

“They want to be attacking. But when as the opening batsman in England does the attack become reckless and loose?

“To me, he’s a rare talent and I don’t think there are too many people in the cricket world who can play like him. When I first came in and watched him play on the nets, and saw some of his old innings, it quickly became apparent that He has something that other players don’t have.

“My message to him was ‘there are 10,000 players who can play differently, there are only a handful who can play like you, go out there and be the best version of yourself.

“I’ll keep trying to encourage him to do that. We just have to make sure he’s brave enough to keep stepping up, even if things haven’t necessarily gone that well. I have confidence in him, for sure.” .”

“We heard Ravi Shastri talk about how Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul spent hours and hours in Durham last summer, in the Dukes’ nets against the ball, leaving the ball off the stump. In England, leave becomes a hit very important, but not under McCullum and Stokes?

“It’s the repetitive nature of the layoffs that will surely eventually become a concern. Driving without due care and attention against the moving ball is going to get you into trouble.”

“You might get the weird, nice, sharp four through offside, but eventually a bowler with the skill of (Jasprit) Bumrah or (Tim) Southee will back up to find the advantage.

“He’s got the backing of the coach and the captain, but if it keeps coming out the same way, when do you have to say something to your leadoff hitter?”

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Atherton argued that while there may be minor adjustments in technique that could help Crawley, the most important thing to his future success was learning “the art of hitting.”

“The words of the captain and the coach are quite interesting,” he added. “I was at that press conference when Stokes was asked about Zak Crawley. So what did he say? He can’t exactly say, ‘well, he’s in the last-chance room and if he doesn’t get any runs then we’re going to drop him ‘.

“The question really is: how much does messaging cost for public consumption? ‘We’re going to stand behind our players,’ which of course the captain and manager need to do, but the question is how long will he stand behind them? Eventually. , for all, the coin runs.

“With Zak Crawley, I don’t think it’s technical. You can talk about technical aspects of the game, but it’s about the art of hitting, I would say, with Crawley. It’s almost like he’s learning the art of hitting.” at the highest level, under scrutiny and has to learn faster.

“Before we’ve even played a test match, the team was chosen on the basis that every player in every position is the best player in England to take us forward the way we want. This team and this team is going to be given a lot of time to act. Zak Crawley is still in my plans and Brendon McCullum’s plans in the future, to make this test team great again.”

Ben Stokes on Zak Crawley

Asked what he would say to Crawley if the England man asked him for advice, Atherton said: “I wouldn’t talk about technique.

“I would talk about what Graham Gooch used to call the art of running, the ability to figure out what a bowler is trying to do and the conditions in front of you, and the ability to adapt to both.

“The battle is you and the bowler and you and the conditions and you have to adapt to both. There will be times when everything is in your favor and there will be times when it is not.”

“This may be an outdated view but, at times when the conditions are not in your favor, I think you have to find a way to overcome it, and then get to a point where the conditions are in your favor. That is what Crawley is struggling to do.

“If you think of his magnificent two hundred [against Pakistan in 2020] – which I’m not taking anything away from – it was done in a beautiful batting field and there was not much lateral movement.

“He played brilliantly and I don’t think you can play like that and not be a player, but you’re not always going to have that and you have to find a way to pass. That’s what he’s not doing.”

Crawley was sacked by Jasprit Bumrah for nine on day two at Edgbaston

Crawley was sacked by Jasprit Bumrah for nine on day two at Edgbaston

Hussain also argued that as much as Stokes, McCullum and others within the England setup may offer guidance, how Crawley chooses to bat is ultimately up to the player himself.

“What really matters is what he thinks and if he thinks he should change,” he said.

“If you’re sitting there as Zak Crawley, are you comfortable being this player, this inconsistent talent or do you want to get better and better and become more consistent and not play the shot of the day but the innings of the day like Alastair? Cook or Michael Atherton used to play?

“At the end of the day, it’s your career and you’re in charge of it. You don’t get runs if you don’t play some shots, but with some of these shots, the percentages are against him given he’s opening up the batting in England.

“Jonny Bairstow is the way [England] I want to play. He has been positive in his last three innings but not reckless, although there is a difference between starting and batting in the middle order in England.

“You would expect there to be a little bit more to this training regimen, where they say, ‘The percentages were against you today.'”

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