Zak Crawley suggests England’s typing problems are in part due to ‘poor’ county pitches

Zak Crawley has suggested that the decline in the number of test hitters in England is in part due to the proposed “bad grounds” in county cricket.

A one-sided defeat by Ashes with three hammer blows followed by last week’s draw in Sydney has led to a familiar introspection into the English game.

One of the more obvious issues is the team’s frequent inability to post large totals – an issue that starts at the top of the order.

Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Crawley himself – up to a 77 at least on day five at SCG – have proven to be easy picks for the Australian attack and the likes of Joe Denly and Keaton Jennings have failed. did better before.

The skills to hit long and score big consistently appear to be scarce and Crawley, 23, believes the game is stacked against those who try to make it in the domestic game.

Seeing him at his best on Sunday – pulling world bowling number one Pat Cummins hard past the square or using his height to roll lavishly through the blankets – it’s easy to imagine him being a dominant figure in county cricket.

And, yet he sits on a truly modest first-class average of 31.21 over four years with Kent.

Asked about his county record, he said, “I think it’s the fact that I’ve been hitting mediocre pitches, really my entire champion career.

“I have the impression that it was very difficult to open the stick. The fields have been very favorable to bowlers throughout my career.

“At my best, I obviously showed something the England managers appreciated, so I was selected with an average of 30. It’s less than normal, but there aren’t too many openers on average a lot more than that at the moment.

“I think 34-35 is a really good average for a opener these days and it’s something very different from 10 years ago.”

Zak Crawley helped England avoid defeat in the fourth Ashes Test (Jason O’Brien / PA)

Crawley’s words are sure to raise some objections, from the ground staff if no one else, but in an environment where administrators have serious questions about the domestic game’s ability to produce world-class players, they could. find a sympathetic audience.

“Obviously I would like the pitch in Canterbury to be a little better – I don’t think it’s unfair of me to say that – but I don’t think it’s just a Kent story,” he said. he declares.

“I think almost all the fields I have played on have been pretty poor. I can think of about two or three where I got them to think “this is a really good teller”.

“So it would be difficult for me to find a place that could be a little flatter. I think it’s more of a nationwide issue and I think it would help our test team a lot if the pitches started to improve.

Crawley, who cemented his place on the squad for the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart this week, also revealed how watching footage from his best career double-century against Pakistan helped him through a dramatic drop in his form. Last year.

The Kent hitter looked set for stardom when he scored a sensational 267 at the Ageas Bowl in August 2020, the 10th highest test score by an English player in history.

But rather than ride the crest of that wave, Crawley sank. In 2021, he beat his country 16 times and completed 173 points with an ego bruising average of 10.81.

His dashing 77 last time around was good enough for Australian great Ian Chappell to refer to him as ‘England’s future’, but Crawley admitted there had been times when he needed to strengthen his own. faith in him.

Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley scored a Double Century Test against Pakistan in 2020 (Alastair Grant / PA0

“I would have said the 267 was a stepping stone for me and 2021 it definitely wasn’t,” he said.

“I watch these heats frequently when I’m in bad shape, to be honest, because it’s a good reminder that I’ve done it before and can do it again.

“Sometimes if you’re feeling a little harsh you can lose sight of the fact that you can play and it’s always nice to remember that.

“I played really well that day, but I feel like I’m a better player now and it’s because of the failures I had last year. It has all been a great learning curve.

“You tend to learn more from your failures than your actual successes and this wasn’t the year I wanted. But I learned a lot about myself and my game and I feel like I can go on and become a better player.

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