Despite his continuing failures at the top, England head coach Brendon McCullum continued to back opener Zak Crawley and said that he will stick with him for the second Test against South Africa in Manchester. Crawley could score only nine and 13 during England’s shameful defeat by innings and 12 runs to South Africa in the first Test at the Lord’s. In his previous ten innings, he has managed only 164 runs at a poor average of 16.40. He has scored no fifties in this run, with the best score of 46. But McCullum opines that patience must be shown to the under-scrutiny 24-year-old.
“You have to think about the overall package. We have some players that have been put in those positions because they have certain skill-sets. I look at a guy like Zak and his skill-set is not to be a consistent cricketer. He is not that type of player. He is put in that situation because he has a game which, when he gets going, he can win matches for England,” ICC quoted McCullum as saying.
England succumbed to a brutal defeat in the first Test and South Africa were able to maintain its top spot in the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 standings.
Crawley’s poor form has seen many former players calling for his immediate removal from the squad.
One of these cricketers is former England skipper Mike Atherton.
“He did not look like a man that was going to be there for a long time. England like him and obviously think there is loads of potential but at some point you have to take someone out of the firing line,” Atherton said.
“The best bowlers put it around off stump time and time again and Crawley is nicking off on and around off stump. That is the game as an opening batsman and if you are struggling to sort that aspect of your game, it is an issue,” he added.
But McCullum believes in long terms benefits of showing loyalty in selection.
“That is not how I think. We want to keep giving guys opportunities, then their skill and talent can come out. We have to be really positive around the language we use with him and be really consistent with the selections around that, to keep giving guys opportunities,” he said.
“Selection loyalty is really important. Not only does it build loyalty from guys on the side, but it also builds loyalty from guys on the outside because they know when their opportunity does come they will be afforded the same loyalty,” he added.
The second Test between England and South Africa will take place from August 25 onwards at Old Trafford, Manchester.
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