February 03, 1998, Bromley, Kent
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
Top order Batter
Zak Crawley's figures looked unexceptional when he was called-up for England's Test tour of New Zealand but, such was his promise and so obvious England's need for resilience at the top of the order, his selection at the age of 21 was no surprise.
Crawley had averaged just 34.16 in the 2019 County Championship season and, in career terms, had only three first-class centuries and a first-class average of 31.27. But two of those centuries had come against strong fast bowling attacks - a Nottinghamshire side containing James Pattinson and Jake Ball and a Warwickshire attack containing Ryan Sidebottom and Henry Brookes - and he had won an array of high-profile admirers. Particularly adept against fast bowling, he pulls and cuts well and has developed is white-ball game to the point where he gained a place with London Spirit in the first edition of The Hundred.
He scored just one on his Test debut in New Zealand; a last-minute replacement in Hamilton for the injured Jos Buttler. But, having impressed with his character and his excellent fitness, he retained his place for the South Africa tour and won another opportunity when Rory Burns suffered another last-minute injury ahead of the Cape Town Test. While the eye-catching scores didn't materialise, he improved his Test-best score for five innings in succession and registered a maiden half-century in Jo'burg. In that Test, he also put together - with Dom Sibley - England's first century opening stand since December 2016 and the first pair of 50+ opening stands in a game since 2012. An extended run in the side looked certain.
Crawley became a regular in the Kent side in 2018, playing throughout their promotion-winning season as well as figuring in occasional limited overs games. After twice being dismissed in the nineties he scored his maiden first-class century in the final home match of the season, making 168 against Glamorgan at Canterbury.
Crawley would also have claimed his maiden List A century during England's 2017-18 close season in a Kent match against the Leeward Islands, during the Regional Super50 tournament at North Sound, only to fail due to what some perceived as a combination of ill luck and unsporting behaviour. He was 98 with Kent needing four to win when two wides, followed in the next over by a fielder allowing the ball to run to the boundary, left him on a career-best 99.
Crawley, a Kent Cricket Academy graduate, signed his first professional contract with Kent at 17 in October 2015. He made his List A debut against Essex in the Royal London One-Day Cup in May 2017 before impressing with 62 against the touring West Indies during Canterbury Week later that season.
Batting & Fielding