Zak Crawley vows to continue aggressive approach

By Sports Desk February 03, 2024

Zak Crawley epitomised both sides of England’s “risk and reward” strategy as India grabbed control of the second Test but has vowed not to dial down his attacking instincts.

Birthday boy Crawley, who turned 26 on day two in Visakhapatnam, batted majestically at times on his way to 76 from 78 balls but his dismissal proved a turning point.

Responding to the hosts’ 396 all out, England were motoring along on 114 for one when Crawley tried to smash Axar Patel’s third ball back over his head and holed out.

England never regained their composure as the imperious Jasprit Bumrah tore them down for 253 with a brilliant six-wicket haul, but Crawley had no regrets about going on the attack.

On tour here in 2021 he scored just 67 runs in four innings using a much more conservative plan and believes he is a better batter now that he is taking the game on.

“I wasn’t happy to get out when I did but I’d definitely do the same thing again,” said Crawley, who hit 11 fours and two sixes before coming unstuck.

“I was disappointed with myself, especially when the wickets fell afterwards, but I’ll keep telling myself to back my aggressive game because that’s what got me here.

“If I start doubting myself in those situations and not backing my instincts then I revert back to the player I was a couple of years ago, really not scoring many runs for my team.

“I’m happy that I’m much more aggressive now and that’s helped with consistency. If that one doesn’t turn and I hit him over his head for six then suddenly he’s under a lot of pressure and I can milk him for two hours or whatever.

“There’s risk and reward there. I’ve done it before and it’s come off but unfortunately it didn’t come off today.”

Crawley managed to get the better of Bumrah, at one stage hitting the seamer for four boundaries in a single over, but he was alone in that.

The 30-year-old was an unstoppable force once the ball started to reverse swing, gutting England’s middle order and mopping up at the end to finish with six for 45.

India stretched their advantage to 171 with all 10 second-innings wickets intact by the close of play but Crawley does not fear a big chase.

Despite seeing his side bowl India out for 202 to seal victory in the first Test at Hyderabad, Crawley hopes for friendlier conditions when the time comes.

“I feel it’s not breaking up like last week. I don’t think it’s going to turn as much,” he predicted.

“It will obviously turn more than it is now, that’s always the case here, but I don’t think it’ll be as tricky as it was fourth innings for them last week so I feel like we can chase a decent score.

“It’s a quick scoring ground, really small boundaries and a quick outfield.

“If you put them under pressure you can get on top of them. With a good couple of partnerships in the second innings we can really put them under some pressure but we’ve got to bowl well first and that’s all that’s on our minds now.”

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