Former England skipper Nasser Hussain described Zak Crawley’s state of mind a ‘scrambled brain’ and opined that the youngster’s struggles are not technical, but purely mental. Post his 267 in Southampton, Crawley has averaged 9.63 in Test cricket, getting dismissed in single digits nine times.
After posting scores of 2 and 2 at Lord’s, young Zak Crawley entered Day 1 of Edgbaston under significant pressure, but he was set the perfect platform by the openers, who’d batted 30 overs. However, despite the odds being in his favour, the 23-year-old perished after just four balls, for a duck, inexplicably throwing his hands at a wide one from Neil Wagner which could have been left alone. The dismissal took Crawley’s average for the year to a mere 9.63, and the youngster now finds himself as a likely candidate to be axed for the five-Test series against India.
According to former English captain Nasser Hussain, it is Crawley’s mind which is resulting in his own undoing. Thrice this series Crawley has nicked off behind the wickets, and Hussain opined that the youngster is struggling mentally, finding it hard to deal with a ‘scrambled brain'.
“People will wonder how Zak Crawley can go from that magnificent double hundred against Pakistan last summer to where he is now. And what he has now is a scrambled brain,” Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“It’s the thing that is most easy to forget when you finish playing the game – how scrambled you get where you are out of nick and scratching around for runs. And Crawley’s dismissal to Neil Wagner here at Edgbaston came with the shot of a man who is struggling mentally rather than technically.”
With both Burns and Sibley putting up runs in the series, Crawley is the only under-performing top-order batter, and Hussain reckoned that the 23-year-old will be under severe pressure in the second innings, as he could potentially be playing for a spot in the playing XI.
“Crawley will certainly be under pressure in the second innings here, with Ben Stokes due to come back and someone having to give way in the series against India.
“And the more desperate you get for runs the more you can become tense and go searching for the ball. Especially when the game and the next innings are so important.”
In contrast to Crawley, Dan Lawrence, who also played a forgettable shot in the first Test, righted his wrongs on Day 1, and proved to be England’s best batsman, finishing the first innings unbeaten on 81. Hussain advised Crawley to take a leaf out of Lawrence’s book and hit the reset button, and also suggested the youngster to study the footage of the 267 he hit versus Pakistan in order to unscramble his brain.
“All he needed to do was watch Dan Lawrence, who also played a bad shot at Lord’s, to realise that as pressure eases those hands become softer on the bat and those mental and technical issues can disappear.
“So what Crawley has to do now is study footage of that 267 at the Ageas Bowl, try to blank those three dismissals out of his mind and get that brain unscrambled. He has to be as natural as possible but it’s not easy to change in the middle of a Test,” Hussain said.