England batsman Zak Crawley fit again and aiming to keep improving

Zak Crawley

Zak Crawley has declared himself fit for England’s third Test with India and ready to show his improvement after a big learning curve in Sri Lanka.

Zak Crawley lacking runs and game time

The Kent batsman scored only 35 runs across four innings in Galle and a “freak injury” saw him ruled out of the first two matches of this series.

Crawley slipped on a marble floor and sprained his right wrist ahead of a training session, but is available and could be used as an opener or line up in his preferred number three position on Wednesday.

“It is all about proving my fitness to the coaches but it feels a lot better and I am back batting now in the nets and doing stuff out in the field, so it is looking positive,” the 23-year-old said ahead of the day-night fixture.

“I was one of the first players to go out on to the field, with my spikes on, and basically my feet went out from underneath me.

“To protect my head I stuck my hand out and it was one of those freak incidents where my arm took all the weight. It was a real shame to do that and miss some Test cricket.”

Suspicions of foul play

While Crawley took a tumble on an uncovered surface, he confirmed a similar area near the India dressing room was covered by carpet.

He is expected to play in Ahmedabad but where is up for debate with opener Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence, who was used at three, both under threat.

Crawley added: “I’ve batted in the top four for England so any of those positions and any chance to play again I will do whatever role is required. If I had a preference, it would probably be three but I have no problems at all with opening.”

It was during the two-match series with Sri Lanka in January that the right-hander was asked to bat at the top and he struggled against Lasith Embuldeniya.

Struggles against spin

Faced with the prospect of playing spin first up, Crawley was out in all four innings to the slow left-armer with a top score of 13 and could take on a similar challenge next week in the shape of Axar Patel, who claimed seven wickets on debut in the second Test.

But Crawley insisted: “I still back my game against spin, but it was a great learning curve for me that if I am a bit sharper and work on a few different things and do things that the best do, then there is room for improvement there.

“I am not going to let a few dismissals change the way I play. I got a couple of good balls (in Sri Lanka), I mis executed (sic) one shot so for me there is no problem there.

“I will continue playing the way I play. He is a top quality bowler, Axar Patel, so obviously I am going to give him the respect he deserves, but for me it is not a problem in my eyes. I will keep trying to improve the way I play.”

Unlike in the first two games, spin could take a back seat at the new 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium, which will open its account in Test cricket with a day-night match.

SG’s pink variant is expected to offer plenty for the seamers and England could have Jofra Archer back after an elbow injury ensured he was absent for the chastening second Test defeat in Chennai.

“I faced him in nets yesterday and he seemed to be fine,” Crawley revealed. “It seems to be swinging more than the red ball and doing a bit more for the seamers.

“And it seems to be harder, so the spinners are skidding it on a bit more. It is definitely going to play a bit more different than the red ball and I expect to see a bit more seam in this game.”