Ben Stokes backs struggling Zak Crawley: ‘Entire England dressing room has his back’

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Struggles: Zak Crawley  (AP)
Struggles: Zak Crawley (AP)

Ahead of England’s meeting with India at Edgbaston, captain Ben Stokes has given his most fulsome backing yet of Zak Crawley, the opener who struggled in the recent series against New Zealand.

Despite England winning 3-0, Crawley had a difficult series against India, sandwiching four single figures scores between 43 and 25 in his last two innings respectively.

Crawley will win his 25th cap at Edgbaston, but averages under 23 as a Test opener. Stokes said Crawley and other players “would be given a lot of time to perform”.

“When we picked the squad, before we’d even played a Test match, the squad was picked on the basis that every player in every position is the best player in England to carry us forward in the way that we want to,” he said.

“This team and this squad is going to be given a lot of time to perform. Zak Crawley is still in my plans. Brendan's plans going forward, to make this Test team great again.”

Asked if that was regardless of what happened at Edgbaston, Stokes said: “Regardless, yeah”. Stokes said that Crawley had remained himself through his form struggles, and knew that he had England’s full backing.

“He's still Zak,” said Stokes. “He is a very funny, man. But you never really know how someone is really internally. So when things aren't going so well for someone you've obviously got to do the right thing if it is pumping his tyres up or whatever it is, but can only say so many times that you’ve got the backing of us because it almost sounds like a broken record when you keep saying.

“But I'm gonna say it again: he’s got the backing of myself, Brendan and everybody in the changing room. I’m giving everyone in this team the time to go out and perform and show the world what they're all about as players.

“You look back at the series against New Zealand and at the times that he has spent out the middle: he's been very commanding and has such a huge presence at the crease. He hits the ball effortlessly hard. And he's that close to a huge score.

“He got off to a flyer at Headingley. He made 25, it’s nothing to write home about and he'll openly say that but it's the manner of how he's played when he's been at the crease which is a real exciting thing.

“And I’ve no doubt that he will continue to go out there and play like that, because he's a real team man.”

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