Zak Crawley: England Test opener targets ODI and T20 spot on more regular basis | Cricket News


England Test opener Zak Crawley is targeting a more regular role in England’s white-ball team, telling the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast that he feels his game is ‘quite suited’ to the 50-over and T20 formats.

Crawley has played only eight ODIs for England since making his debut in 2021, averaging 28.42, while he has yet to make an appearance in the T20 team.

After enduring a dreadful 2022 summer in the Test team, where he struck just one fifty across 13 innings, registering seven single-digit scores, Crawley has been one of England’s standout performers since, leading to calls for his inclusion in the white-ball arena.

“I’ve always wanted to be a good white-ball player,” Crawley told the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast. “I’m trying to add a few other shots to my game, but I feel like it’s quite suited and I’ve gone well in T20 cricket in the past when I’ve had a run at it.

“In the last few years, things weren’t particularly going so well so I wanted to concentrate on the red ball and stay in that team – it was always my priority for me to play Test cricket.

“That will always be my number one format – it means the most to me – but playing any format for England is a huge honour and playing white-ball cricket is something I really want to do.

“I’m trying to add a bit more power to my game, I’m working hard in the nets trying a few different things to hopefully hit more and bigger sixes.”

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Crawley reveals he intended to make an impact on the first delivery of the Ashes series in 2023

‘Dealing with failure has helped my form massively’

Crawley put his Test match turnaround down to the support of head coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, who stuck with him during his lean patch in 2022.

The 26-year-old opener has averaged 41.60 in his 16 Tests since the 2022 summer, hitting two centuries, including a magnificent 168 at Old Trafford last summer in the drawn Ashes series.

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Crawley says a shift in mentality has helped him to improve his form

“When I was in bad form in 2022, I found myself reading a lot more [criticism],” Crawley said. “But luckily I’ve got out of that trend now and I don’t read positive or negative.

“It’s really what I’ve been working on this last year, which has helped my form massively, that dealing with failure.

“In India I was trying to get into this headspace where the results were pre-determined – ‘I’ve done all my work’, leave it up to fate. That helped massively to realise I’m not in control of the result – just go out and play.”

Crawley added: “It always felt like I had an itch to score and I think Baz [Brendon McCullum] and Stokesy [Ben Stokes] saw that in me… They give you that freedom to go out and take it on – it’s about how you play rather than how many runs you get.”

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Speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, Crawley explains the impact that Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes have had on the England Test side

Despite England losing their last four straight Test matches in India to fall to a 4-1 series defeat, there is no expectation that Stokes will lose his grip on the captaincy any time soon – not that it’s an ambition of Crawley’s currently anyway.

Asked if he had any aspirations to one day be skipper, Crawley said: “To be honest, I don’t.

“If I get asked down the line, then obviously it would be a great honour, but playing under Stokesy, he’s the best captain I’ve ever played under.

“I always try and be a leader in the group in terms of acting in a professional way and being a good team man. You don’t have to be captain to be a leader.

“I’ve always felt like if you want to be captain, then you shouldn’t be. The captain should be the man the team wants to be captain.”

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