Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has heaped his praises on England’s latest sensation, Zak Crawley after amassing 320 runs in the recently concluded Test series against Pakistan. At number three, Zak Crawley backed up his half-century from the second Test with a record-breaking double hundred in the final one in Southampton. As a result, Ian Chappell tips the youngster as an ideal number three for Englishmen in Tests.
Zak Crawley made his Test debut against New Zealand in Hamilton last year. After batting at number six in his first Test innings, he opened in South Africa for the injured Rory Burns and kept coming up with handy knocks. However, the 267 was a breakthrough knock for him that put Crawley in the map. In the process, the 22-year old shared a stand of 359 with Jos Buttler and became the third-youngest batsman from England to amass a double.
Ian Chappell believes that the number three spot is apt for Zak Crawley, owing to his natural attacking instincts. Chappell admitted that England are yet to solve their opening quandary; however, Crawley, Joe Root, and Ben Stokes make up a potent middle-order. The former Australian skipper added that the next Ashes series would serve a mouthwatering battle between Marnus Labuschagne and the Kent batsman, being the number three ones for their Test sides.
“Crawley is ideally suited to fill England’s needs at No. 3 with his natural attacking instincts. England are yet to solve their opening puzzle but Crawley, Root, and Ben Stokes comprise a potentially strong and dangerous middle order. An upcoming Ashes series featuring a duel between rival No. 3s Labuschagne and Crawley promises a more glamorous future – one befitting the importance of the position,” the South Australian wrote in his column for ESPN Cricinfo.
Ian Chappell points out the similarity between Zak Crawley and Marnus Labuschagne:
The 76-year old further said that both Zak Crawley and Marnus Labuschagne like to assert their authority early on, putting pressure on the position through swiftly running between the wickets and imperious shot-making. Their sole motive is to win the game as quickly as possible.
“Labuschagne and Crawley like to make their mark early, establishing superiority with energetic running and audacious shot-making. Their motto appears to be: Let’s win this game quickly,” Chappell added.
Marnus Labuschagne’s turning point of his career came in the 2019 Ashes when he scored a fifty at the Lord’s to help Australia save the Test, coming in place of Steve Smith. The right-handed batsman has enjoyed a record-breaking run since then, clattering three centuries and three fifties. In only 14 Tests, Labushcagne has 1459 runs at more than 60 and is the top run-getter in the ICC World Test Championship.