Zak Crawley issues a case for the defence as attention shifts to an Ashes summer

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Zak Crawley defended his technique after a disappointing winter with the bat during England’s thrilling tours of Pakistan and New Zealand.

During England’s dramatic 1-1 series draw in New Zealand, Crawley scored just 58 runs in four innings, leaving him with an average of 27.60 from 33 Tests.

An Ashes year increases the attention on players and with Jonny Bairstow stepping up his recovery from a broken leg towards the end of last summer, someone is likely to have to make way from the current squad.

Crawley hopes to impress for Kent in the County Championship ahead of the Ashes later this summer
Zak Crawley hopes to impress for Kent in the County Championship ahead of the Ashes later this summer (John Walton/PA)

“I have got a good defensive technique,” the 25-year-old said. “When you are playing against the best sides in the world it might look like it’s not.

“It’s not something I need to work on. It’s something I need to keep backing.

“The same as my aggressive game. I always try to improve on all areas of my game, that’s a given.”

Brendon McCullum has continued to show faith in Crawley throughout the winter, insisting that due to his role as an opener inconsistencies are expected.

The England head coach went one step further after the New Zealand series, saying that – following conversations with Ricky Ponting – the Australians respect the Kent opener.

Crawley appreciated McCullum’s support, adding: “It’s nice when people back you and think you’re a good player. I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people about my game but most importantly you’ve got to back yourself or it’s not going to work.

“I certainly do. It hasn’t gone perfectly the last year but I’ve had some good knocks. I’ve got two hundreds last year, I was in the top 10 runscorers.”

Crawley was eighth in terms of most Test runs amassed in 2022, having scored 844 in 15 Tests.

He added: “But that probably wasn’t portrayed in how I was spoken about in the press.

“But there’s ups and downs in anyone’s career and especially opening the batting and I back myself and keep batting every time.”

The five-match Ashes series starts on June 16 at Edgbaston and Crawley will be hoping for a place in the England line-up after their dismal performance Down Under last time around.

Crawley played three Tests as England slumped to a defeat, losing the Ashes in just 12 days of cricket and offering up a meagre resistance to Australia’s bowling.

Crawley was part of England's dismal 4-0 defeat in the last Ashes series
Crawley was part of England’s dismal 4-0 defeat in the last Ashes series (Darren England/AAP)

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