Zak Crawley criticizes ‘poor County pitches’, hopes for better wickets in future

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11 Jan 2022 | 01:33 PM
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Zak Crawley criticizes ‘poor County pitches’, hopes for better wickets in future

The 23-year-old hoped for pitches at the County level to start getting better

Zak Crawley, whose counter-punching 77 played an integral part in England saving the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney, has blamed overly bowler-friendly wickets in the County Championship for the Three Lions’ batting woes, and believes batters in the country have been hard done by ‘poor’ wickets that are dished out in domestic cricket.

Often criticized for his mediocre first-class average of 31, Crawley believes he has batted on poor wickets for the entirety of his first-class career, and is of the opinion that the bowler-friendly wickets have played a significant role in him not being prolific at the domestic level.

"I've batted on poor pitches, really, my whole Championship career," Crawley told reporters in Hobart, reported ESPN Cricinfo. "I feel like it's been very hard to open the batting.

"At my best, I've obviously shown something the England selectors have enjoyed. So I got picked with an average of 30, but there aren't too many openers averaging a lot more than that at the moment.

"The pitches have been very favourable to bowlers my whole career so far so until that changes… I feel like the average is a little bit lower than I'd like. I think 34-35 is a very good average for an opener these days, and that's something that's very different from 10 years ago."

The 23-year-old, who plays for Kent, admitted that he would like for the wickets in Canterbury to be better, but played down the possibility of him moving to a different club in order to get the opportunity to bat on better wickets. The opener claimed that even if were to make a move, it would make no difference, for, in his opinion, wickets at the domestic level are ‘poor’ country-wide.

"As long as I'm playing for England. I don't see the need [to move]," Crawley said, playing down suggestions of him leaving Kent.

"As long as I'm wearing the Three Lions, I haven't really given it much thought, to be honest, because that's my sole focus at the moment.

"Obviously I'd like the pitch at Canterbury to be a little bit better," he added.

"I don't think it's unfair of me to say. But I don't think it's just a Kent thing: I think pretty much all the grounds I've played on have been pretty poor.

"It'd be tough for me to find somewhere maybe a bit flatter. It's more a country-wide problem, and I think it will help our Test team a lot if pitches did start getting better.”

Crawley was lauded for the fighting 77 in the second innings at SCG, but one Test ago, he endured a horror hour of play at the MCG, where an all-time-great burst from the Australian seamers saw them pick four English wickets in an hour to virtually seal the urn. The 23-year-old described the final hour of play at the MCG, and his experience playing in India, as ‘ the two hardest spells of cricket I've ever had, by a long way.’

"Playing in India against that spin and then the other night at the MCG in that final session of the [second] day, they're the two hardest spells of cricket I've ever had, by a long way," he said.

"I wouldn't have thought that it would get much harder than those two experiences. So, you've just got to take them on the chin and move on and learn from them. That's what I'll try and do.”

After 17 Tests Crawley’s Test average reads a mere 28, but the flamboyant right-hander asserted that the tough experiences he’s had over the past 18 months have made him a better player.

“Cricket's a game where you fail a lot more than you succeed. So, it's been a good year for me to try and pick myself back up and go again, and see how many times you can keep coming back and improving. I feel like I have improved and am a better player than I was a year ago. And that's what I am going to look to do this year, be a better player than I am right now."

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Australia vs EnglandEngland tour of Australia, 2021/22EnglandZak Crawley

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