Zak Crawley wants to rediscover his positivity after a difficult year in Test cricket reached a low point with 21 runs in four innings against New Zealand.
Crawley appeared to have the world at his feet when he hit a sparkling 267 against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl last August. But since then 12 Test innings – in Sri Lanka and India, then at home against the New Zealanders – have brought him just 123 runs and a lone half-century.
But he revelled in his unexpected ODI debut against Pakistan recently, brought about when a Covid-19 scare forced England to pick an entirely new squad. He made an unbeaten half-century on debut and 97 runs from just 85 balls in all, and wants to take that freedom into next month’s Test series against India after he was named in a 17-man squad for the first two matches.
Zak Crawley is bidding to rediscover his positivity as the batsman prepares for The Hundred
The 23-year-old has endured a torrid 12 months in Test cricket, failing to make any big scores
‘There was a certain freedom to how we played in the one-dayers, and I think it’s why we did so well,’ he told Sportsmail.
‘There was no pressure on us. I really enjoyed it actually – as much as I have any cricket for a while. It’s a tough team to get into, but I’d love to play in a World Cup in either format.
‘I was a bit out of form in the Tests, but we all know what cricket is like. It was really challenging batting against spinners armed with the new ball in the subcontinent. I’d never done that before, so I didn’t go too deeply into it. But New Zealand was disappointing.
‘It’s massively important to stay on a level. I’m not trying to prove anything to people, and even the best players fail 80 per cent of the time, so you have to find a way to deal with that. I’m not going to sulk after New Zealand. I learned a lot about myself.
However, Crawley’s inclusion in the ODI squad has given him a much-needed new lease of life
The English batsman is hoping to carry over his ODI form into the new format for London Spirit
‘I struggled a bit in the first Test at Lord’s, and after that I went a bit negative. I like to be positive in everything I do, so against India I want to be positive again.’
He will need little excuse to go for his shots when he lines up for London Spirit’s first two games in The Hundred, at Edgbaston on Friday and Lord’s on Sunday. And he will be pushed in one direction only by Shane Warne, the Spirit’s head coach.
‘It’s brilliant to work with him,’ said Crawley. ‘He’s one of the best cricket brains of all time. In training, he’s constantly thinking. Whoever thinks the best out there, they’re the best players. That’s where I feel I can improve a bit.’
And he is in no doubt that The Hundred will be a success.
‘We’re playing against the best players in the country and the best overseas players in the world. White-ball cricket in England is already in a good place, but the whole country will be better off for it.’
To celebrate their partnership with The Hundred, Lifebuoy is providing free hand sanitiser to every registered Dynamos Cricket participant #BishBashBosh.