Published: 06:00, 10 May 2018
Planes. Perth. Pune. Three Ps which figured large in Zak Crawley’s preparations ahead of a season many expect to be a big one for the Kent batsman.
The highly-rated youngster organised the trips to Australia and India off his own bat, keen to learn as much as he could about the art of flourishing at the top of the order.
Crawley’s time Down Under was spent with Neil ‘Noddy’ Holder, a coach who has previously worked with former Australian Test players Justin Langer and Mike Hussey, as well as Crawley’s team-mate Alex Blake.
He then travelled to India where the aim was to improve his technique against spin.
Both trips were made before the West Indies Regional Super50 Cup in Antigua where Kent reached the semi-finals and academy graduate Crawley feels both were of great benefit to him
He said: “I went to Perth just for a couple of weeks to see Noddy Holder. He’s a good guy and I just wanted to catch up with him. He keeps it simple, that’s why I like him.
“He likes to hit the ball hard, the way he likes to play cricket is the way I want to play cricket.”
The trip to India was organised with the help of Kent’s 2nd XI coach Min Patel and initially not everything went to plan.
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Crawley said: “I went to India straight from Australia, I went to Mumbai, then it rained so I went to Pune, I drove three hours inland so that was good.
“I just felt like, I wasn’t weak against spin but I can improve and I thought why not go to India where it turns.
“I didn’t play I just trained, five, six hours a day in the nets. These lads were just coming up and bowling one after the other, they loved it, it was perfect and I’d love to do it again.”
“Stuff like that as long as you’re improving on something, obviously time in the middle can be replicated and it’s the best form but if you’re working on something specific like I was out there, in terms of my game plans against spin then I thought it was perfect. When I look at top players, they seem to play fast bowling and spin better than everyone else. Everyone kind of plays a lot of that 80-85mph bowling but if you can play spin and fast bowling, that can separate you from a few people.”
Bromley-born Crawley marked his First-Class debut with 62 against the West Indians at Canterbury last summer and over the winter made an unbeaten 99 against the Leeward Islands in the Super50 Cup.
He has played in all three of Kent’s county championship matches to date, making 33 against Glamorgan and 32 against Gloucestershire.
The 20-year-old has yet to make his senior T20 debut but is keen to break that duck in that competition this season and has been working with the last Kent captain to lift the trophy, Rob Key.
He said: “I plan to try and play all formats so I’ll keeping working on all parts of my game, obviously power hitting and that sort of stuff for Twenty20.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with Rob Key. He’s a brilliant sounding board for me. He’s been there done it, so it’s good to talk to him about the game.
“I just like to talk to people like that about how they used to do it. I feel like that’s a part of my game that’s improved, so I don’t see why I can’t play every
“As a team, I feel we’re in a good place. We’ve got people who can win games on their own but we’ve also shown we can win games without people playing too well and the team getting over the line.”