Gladstone Small had the pleasure of interviewing Zak Crawley after he wowed fans making maiden Test century at the Ages Bowl against Pakistan.
If you can recall the many games of cricket playing in your back garden as a kid imagining you were batting for England – was that maiden century ever as good as it was last week at the Ageas Bowl?
You certainly can’t beat the real experience of scoring your first hundred for England. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for over 10 years. To be fair, the hundreds in the back garden felt good as well.
What about your own personal performances – a few good starts passing the half century on a couple innings – how satisfying was it to get to that landmark first test ton, and then to carry on for a maiden double century?
It was a great relief. You build it up in your head that you must take the opportunity when it comes. I missed out a couple of times so to get there this time was a weight off the shoulders in some way.
What a pity there was not a full house crowd there to give you the applause your innings so well deserved, and particularly your family who were instrumental in your development to this level?
It was a shame my family wasn't there. I would have loved to see them in person after the day because I wanted to thank them so much for all the support without which I wouldn’t have been there.
Your style looks quite uncomplicated with free scoring strokes all around the pitch off both front and back foot – that would make you quite difficult to bowl once set?
I’m not sure about that. Cricket is a tough game and I’m sure there will be plenty of low points in the future, that’s the nature of the game, so it was nice to cash in when I got the chance.
Test match cricket is not solely about your technique, your temperament is constantly tested – how do you best cope with the mental challenges that presents?
The biggest challenge is the off field scrutiny so I do my best to avoid it as much as possible. It is impossible to avoid all of it but the less you see the better.
Has batting always been your forte – being the height you are was there ever a temptation to become a fast bowler?
Not really, I’ve been a batsman since 11/12. I just always enjoyed practicing it more.
You always have a broad smile on your face, and not just when you are batting well scoring runs, but also in the field – is it important to enjoy all aspects of your cricket?
I think it is. There are plenty of times in cricket when you’re struggling for form and that can weigh you down so I do try and enjoy it as much as possible and keep a level head.
Quite rightly, high words of praise from skipper Root at the end of the first day, you seem to enjoy that beer – I thought the modern day players endured cold baths at the end of a day's play rather than cold beers?
It was great to get so much support from my teammates. I have so much respect for everyone in there as players, so to see them have respect for my innings was a massive honour. The beer tasted nice as well as a one off!
How would you sum up the summer generally for test cricket and England team?
It’s been great to get out there. It’s not been normal but it’s been necessary to keep the game alive.
To win both series is great because it’s what we set out to do.
How did you find the bio-secure bubble lifestyle?
If I’m honest, it was very boring at times but I would do it all again to play test cricket.
Any heroes or anyone you consult with for your batting fixes?
I love talking about batting with Rob Key. He’s got a fantastic cricket brain.
Noddy Holder in Perth is the best batting coach I’ve seen and try to see him as much as possible.
Away from the cricket field, what do you do to relax and have some fun?
I love my golf. And I especially love spending time just chilling with the family. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular, just spending time with them.
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