This journey reached its next stage with Crawley’s stunning maiden Test hundred “That's what I've always wanted, to score a 100 for England,” he says.  He played in the first two Tests of the summer, scoring 76 in the second innings of the first Test to increase his Test match highest score, before playing in the second Test against Pakistan in August, scoring a half-century in a rain-affected match. It gave me a lot of motivation that I wanted to do this for a living, because I was just enjoying my cricket so much.”, While Crawley was an accomplished football centre-half and fine golfer, “Cricket's always been the number one sport for me,” he says. Crawley went to two schools with a rich cricketing pedigree. In the summer of 2012, on Tonbridge School’s lush grounds, a 14-year-old Zak Crawley told Chris Morgan, the school’s director of sport, what he … We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. “The facilities there are brilliant for people who want to be pro sportsmen.  He made his international debut for the England cricket team in November 2019 in the second Test match of England's tour of New Zealand. There was a clarity about how he said it - not a hint of arrogance. In the summer of 2012, on Tonbridge School’s lush grounds, a 14-year-old Zak Crawley told Chris Morgan, the school’s director of sport, what he wanted to do: play cricket for England. “I don't think Zak hopes to do well, I think he expects to do well.”, This belief is informed by the sense that Test cricket allows Crawley to showcase his strengths against short bowling.  He made scores of 4 and 25 in the match, but also took two "vital" catches during the final innings of the match. “Everyone always said to me that when you come from quite a well-to-do school like I did you know you're going to get quite a bit short stuff.”, Key remembers “pinging balls at his head in a pretty quick lively manner off a bowling machine and seeing him smile his way through it.” To prepare for facing spin, “he'd take his pads off and he put loads of distractions on a length - trainers, helmets, gloves. He scored his maiden List A cricket half century in Kent's opening match of the competition against Guyana, scoring 60 runs as an opening batsman, before going on to score 99 not out against the Leeward Islands in the county's third match of the tournament. “Him playing county cricket for three or four more years you would have lost the development of a young player who was ready to go in Test cricket - get him in there and expose him.”, “You're surrounded by the best players and you're facing the best bowlers in the world in the nets,” says Crawley. “When I was growing up and wanted to play county cricket I was concentrating on my back foot game because I felt like that what was needed to play pro cricket - but actually it turned out you needed a strong front game,” he says. Zak will be sharing his memories of being at Tonbridge School and his experiences so far. “He can learn on the job as you have to in Test cricket,” says Walker. “We mapped out a bit of a plan but we did caveat it by saying that England selection might come quicker.”. And it was great to play on such a beautiful ground. Even as he broke into Kent’s team, making his first-class debut aged 19 in 2017, Crawley found new ways to develop his game. Yet if nothing in Crawley’s headline figures for Kent - three centuries in 59 first-class innings and an average of 31 - remotely hints at a player with the capacity to hit 267 in a Test against Pakistan, his impression transcended raw numbers.
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