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'It was all worth it': Zak Crawley savours the feeling after his maiden Test century | England v Pakistan 2020


Zak Crawley’s career may be in its infancy but it nevertheless flashed before his eyes when the 22-year-old drove Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas through the covers for a couple of runs after tea to reach his maiden Test century for England.

During the soggy second Test Crawley not only had a good look at Pakistan’s attack with a promising 53 but revealed that having thoughts of tasting three figures in the whites of his country had become something of a regular occurrence during his time in the bubble. After walking off at the close unbeaten on 171, his fifth-wicket stand with Jos Buttler, 87 not out, having swelled to 205 as England reached 332 to four, the Kent right-hander admitted the reality very much lived up to the dream.

Crawley, savouring his fourth first-class century and a career-best among them, said: “It was an unbelievable feeling, to see everyone else up there on the balcony clapping. I was trying to stay calm but inside I was absolutely buzzing. It almost flashed before my eyes, my whole career so far. It was more the practice than actually playing. I could kind of see all the nets I’d done in the past and all the time I had gone on my own to hit some balls. It seemed all worth it.

“You do question yourself when you’re in a run of low scores and you can’t buy a run, whether it is worth it, or whether you’re better off doing something else. But it was a feeling that it was all worth it.”

Crawley has certainly put the work in, spending “four or five” winters in Perth with Western Australia’s batting guru Neil “Noddy” Holder and flying himself out to India to improve his game against spin – a trip arranged by Kent’s 2nd XI coach, Min Patel. Living in the flats next to the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury allows him regular access to the facilities and at least once a month he likes to meet up with Rob Key, who is commentating on this match, to pick what he calls “a great cricket brain”.

Crawley said: “It was nice to get that score today and get that monkey off your back. I still feel like I’m early in my career and still learning quite a bit every time I go out and bat. I definitely feel more comfortable in myself having scored a hundred.

“There’s still plenty of hard work to do to prove myself at this level. Being around the environment and facing great bowlers in games and in nets, you have to improve. As long as I can stay in this environment, I think I will improve.”

Crawley went on to credit Buttler for taking the pressure off him at the other end, so too his own failure to realise tea was approaching when on 97 – something he admitted might have led to a big shot in a bid to get there before the break.

Asked if he was now targeting a double, Crawley replied: “One ball at a time. The new ball is still fresh and it’s going to be a tricky 20 minutes when their bowlers will have been rested. If Jos keeps batting the way he does, hopefully I can get a decent score.”

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