England will not adopt negative approach after humbling in India – Zak Crawley

By Sports Desk March 28, 2024

Zak Crawley insists England will not adopt a “negative” approach after their recent 4-1 series defeat in India but acknowledged they must learn when to absorb pressure.

India inflicted the first series loss of the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum era after they stormed back from going one down in Hyderabad to win the last four Tests in comprehensive fashion.

It sparked debate over England’s aggressive ‘Bazball’ style following a string of batting collapses and head coach McCullum accepted they had to refine their style moving forward.

Crawley said: “We always talk about absorbing pressure and putting pressure back on.

“The last couple of years we’ve done the putting pressure back on pretty well and we’ve spoken about maybe picking those moments to absorb at the right times as well. We can certainly refine that.

“That’s not to say we’re going to get more negative. We will still try to play the way we have and try to score quickly but yeah, picking those moments where they’re on top and we need to absorb.

“Or even the other way where they’re on top and you feel like you need to put it back on. It is just getting it right.

“(Stokes) spoke about it after the series where we need a little bit of refinement. It is not big changes.

“We just need to make sure we stay positive and don’t let a tough result get in the way of what we’re done really well over the last couple of years.”

England’s strategy of moving the game forward quickly with higher run-rates and early declarations took the cricket world by storm as they won 10 of their first 11 Tests under Stokes and McCullum.

However, seven defeats have followed from the next 12 matches and a lack of a ruthless streak has cost England at times.

After England posted a first innings total of 353 in the fourth Test in Ranchi, they reduced India to 177 for seven but let the hosts off the hook and, instead of setting up a series decider, they crumbled to a crushing five-wicket defeat.

“We genuinely believed in ourselves and thought we could win the series,” Crawley, speaking at a sponsors event for Swiss watch brand Rado, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s official timing partner, admitted.

“We should have won in Ranchi, I think, to make it 2-2 and then you never know how the last one goes.

“When the series goes like that, it is always hard to wrestle the momentum back but we were in the series massively and we always believed.

“We certainly weren’t in the games when I was in India last time (in 2021), so we gave ourselves a good chance and we weren’t quite clinical enough like they were.

“Over five days, their skills are always going to come out and they are a phenomenal team. It was a really enjoyable tour though, we gave it a good crack and there is a lot to learn from.”

A beacon of light again for England was Crawley, who for the second series in a row led the scoring charts for his team.

The Kent batter was notably labelled as a player whose “skillset is not to be a consistent cricketer” by McCullum in 2022.

 

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A string of low scores increased the external noise around his position prior to last summer’s Ashes but the 26-year-old always retained the faith of England’s key decision-makers.

Now, 12 months on, Crawley has hit seven 50+ scores and averaged 46.7 against the two best attacks in the world, which included a sensational 189 at Old Trafford last July.

“I feel in a lot better place than I was,” Crawley added.

“I’m not trying to put too much pressure on any games to be honest. When I am playing for England or for Kent, I just try and turn up with the same process.

“I am trying to embrace failure more and accepting it is part of the game and sticking with what I do well.”

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