Rossendale Free Press

Crawley hits out at county’s pitches


ZAK Crawley has suggested the decline in England’s Test batting is partly due to the ‘poor pitches’ on offer in county cricket.

A one-sided Ashes defeat featuring three hammerings followed by last week’s nail-biting draw in Sydney has led to a familiar bout of soul searching in the English game.

One of the most conspicuou­s problems is the team’s frequent inability to post significan­t totals - a problem that starts from the very top of the order.

Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Crawley himself - until a freeflowin­g 77 on day five at the SCG, at least - have proved easy pickings for the Australia attack and the likes of Joe Denly and Lancashire’s Keaton Jennings have fared no better previously.

The skills needed to bat long and score big on a consistent basis appear to be in short supply and Crawley, 23, believes the deck is stacked against those who are trying to do so in the domestic game.

He sits on a truly modest first-class average of 31.21 over four years with Kent.

Asked about his county record, he said: “I think it’s the fact I’ve batted on poor pitches, really for my whole Championsh­ip career.

“I feel like it’s been very hard to open the batting. The pitches have been very favourable to bowlers my whole career.

“At my best I’ve obviously shown something the England selectors have enjoyed, so I got picked with an average of 30.

“That is less than normal but there aren’t too many openers averaging a lot more than that at the moment.

“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.”

Crawley’s words are sure to raise a few objections, from groundstaf­f if nobody else but, in an environmen­t where administra­tors are asking serious questions about the ability of the domestic game to produce internatio­nal quality players, they could find a sympatheti­c audience.

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