‘No fear’: England’s Zak Crawley backs himself to score century in fourth Test

‘No fear’: England’s Zak Crawley backs himself to score century in fourth Test

A Test average of 10 in 2021, completed with two failures in Melbourne, might have dented the confidence of some players but Zak Crawley certainly talked a good game ahead of his second Ashes appearance.

Crawley emerged as one of the brightest batting prospects in England after what appeared to be a breakthrough 267 against Pakistan in 2020 only for a struggle on the turning pitches of India earlier this year, and then issues outside off stump at home, to turn the 6ft 5in right hander’s flow of runs into a mere trickle.

Returning for the Boxing Day Test was always a tall order, not least on a tour without state games and having been bizarrely left out of the England Lions versus Australia A fixture in early December. But though scores of 12 and five followed – the latter during a febrile second evening – Crawley fancies greater rewards lie ahead at the start of 2022.

“Obviously I haven’t played my best cricket this last year but I feel in a good place,” he said. “Those stats are misleading sometimes. I have never experienced anything like playing in India, 10 over there felt like a good score at the time. I didn’t feel in great touch in the summer so all of a sudden you’re averaging 10.

“I feel as good as I ever have though and so I don’t look into stats too much. I will certainly look to be a bit more confident and back myself because I know full well I can score a hundred here this week and that’s what I’m looking to do.”

Asked about his approach to facing Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc on their home ground in the upcoming fourth Test, Crawley added: “It’s just not fearing them. I feel a few of us on our first Ashes tour, we’re a bit wary of them but there’s no need to be. They’re great bowlers, some of the best in the world, but when you get in as Rooty and Mala [Joe Root and Dawid Malan] have shown, they’ve looked very comfortable at times. I don’t think it will be a tougher test [in Sydney].

“I think the wicket is going to be better, slightly flatter, and it’ll be a bit easier. Having watched the Ashes a fair bit, usually there seems to be a lot more runs here. I am looking forward to that and hopefully that is the case.”