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Kent head coach Matt Walker defends largely poor red-ball form of England batsman Zak Crawley despite scoring 238 in County Championship Division 1 defeat to Somerset

The largely poor red-ball form of Kent’s England international opening batsman Zak Crawley has been defended by head coach Matt Walker.

Crawley has struggled to show his best form for Kent - bar a double century against Somerset this month - despite a prolonged period with the county due to a later start to England’s Test summer.

Batsman Zak Crawley - has struggled to find his best form for Kent this summer. Picture: Keith Gillard
Batsman Zak Crawley - has struggled to find his best form for Kent this summer. Picture: Keith Gillard

A former batsman himself, Walker understands why Crawley has made a slow start to the summer, him and opening partner Ben Compton often tasked with batting after lengthy spells in the field. Crawley added a first-innings 16 in 12 balls and one during Kent’s heavy loss to Essex at Canterbury last time out.

Walker, whose side start their T20 Blast season against Middlesex at Essex on Friday, explained: “It’s been pretty tough for our batters, certainly the opening batsmen, walking in after 140 overs in the field.

“It’s not something you’re particularly used to doing, although Zak plays Test cricket. But it doesn’t happen often for him in that environment, either.

“That’s been quite tough for both Ben and Zak to be walking in after a long time in the field.

“Certainly when it starts coming thick and fast - game after game - it takes its toll. Zak will be disappointed with his lack of runs, for sure.

“He showed against Somerset that he’s in a really good place. It’s not an accident when that happens.

“It (Crawley’s poor form) can happen and is the nature of opening the batting. It is what it is.

“He got an absolute beauty from Sam Cook in the first innings. You can look back on that without any problems.

“That sort of delivery gets most people out and, in the second innings, he got one that nipped back up the hill - that’s that - and that’s the life of an opening batsmen.

“He works as hard as anybody at his game. At Somerset, he showed, when he gets going, how devastating he can be.

“He’s really looking forward to the next bit of the season around T20 cricket, being available for us and showing what a brilliant T20 player he is - as he is a Test-match cricketer.

“I’m not worried about ‘Creeps’ whatsoever.”

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