Published: 19:00, 27 October 2015
| Updated: 07:16, 28 October 2015
Teenage batsman Zak Crawley says signing his first professional contract with Kent ‘is a dream come true.’
The 17-year-old Bromley-born Kent Cricket Academy graduate impressed for the 2nd XI in 2015, earning selection for the England Elite Player Development for London and East under-17 squads and being chosen to play in a MCC Schools XI at Lord’s.
Agreeing a one-year pro contract at the club - which kicks in when The Tonbridge School student finishes his studies next year - completes a rise through the system from a 10-year-old in the nets at Holmesdale to the first-team squad, where he will wear No16.
Crawley said: “It is a dream come true for me and something which has been a goal of mine for the past seven years really, ever since I joined the under-11s.
“Kent have a brilliant record of producing young players and I sincerely hope I can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Sam Billings, who has developed as a player here and gone on to be picked by England.”
Among the highlights of the Sevenoaks Vine CC prospect’s summer was 105 for the 2nds against Somerset at Taunton in late July, the week after an unbeaten 64 in a white ball game at Middlesex.
He said: “It was a massive year for me, having been involved in the previous couple of years. I definitely had the feeling I had to perform this year to stay in the system and thankfully I was able to do that. It was my best year by far.
“The 100 at Somerset was a great moment for me and hopefully there will be plenty more of those to come next year and beyond.”
He added: “Every game is going to be important for me, in any format. I just need to get experience under my belt and keep working hard to score runs.
“I have played with Adam Riley and Adam Ball in the 2nds and chatted a lot to Sean Dickson about batting last year - he is a brilliant player and I am aiming to follow in his footsteps; score as many runs as possible and make it so they have to pick me.”
Crawley is already verging on 6’6” and asked which players he modelled his game on, he revealed: “I am nowhere near as good as him, obviously, but being tall I like to think my style is a bit like Kevin Pietersen, I am aggressive, I have a big stride and I like to put bowlers under pressure.
“I guess I am aiming to become some kind of mix of Pietersen and Graham Gooch - I’d be more than happy if that happened.”
Although Crawley believes he has ‘done my growing early,’ he remains hopeful of lending his talents to the bowling ranks as well in future.
He said: “I have not really bowled for a couple of years, mainly due to the impact on my body as I was growing, and I am very ordinary at the moment, but hopefully over the next couple of years I can turn into a good bowler and a very good all-rounder.”