England's Test team coach Brendon McCullum has thrown his weight behind struggling Zak Crawley, saying that the youngster is a match-winner. McCullum also feels that consistency in selections is crucial and rejected the idea of dropping Crawley.
The batter is yet to make a half-century in the ongoing summer after five Tests and has the highest score of 46. In 10 innings, the youngster has made six single-figure scores. The right-handed batter hasn't made a half-century on home soil since his monumental 267 against Pakistan in Southampton in 2020.
McCullum called for patience and persistence, saying that the 24-year-old is still at a learning stage and backs him to come good. The 40-year-old doesn't expect Crawley to be consistent, but believes in him winning plenty of matches when set.
As quoted by the BBC, he said:
"He's a talent, and there are not too many of those guys floating around. He's still learning his game at this level. That will take some patience and persistence. I believe in him, that's for sure."
"You have to think about the overall package. I look at a guy like Zak and his skillset is not to be a consistent cricketer. He's not that type of player. He's put in that situation because he has a game which, when he gets going, he can win matches for England."
The Englishman made scores of 9 and 13 in the opening Test against South Africa at Lord's as the hosts crumbled to an innings defeat. England's openers failed to stitch an opening partnership of 50 in both innings as their innings folded under 200 twice.
"We want to keep giving guys opportunities" - Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum also claimed that dropping Zak Crawley will do no good and that selection loyalty is critical for players in and out of the side. The former New Zealand skipper added:
"We want to keep giving guys opportunities, then their skill and talent can come out. We have to be really positive around the language we use with him and be really consistent with the selections around that, to keep giving guys opportunities."
"Selection loyalty is really important. Not only does it build loyalty from guys in the side, it also builds loyalty from guys on the outside because they know when their opportunity does come they will be afforded the same loyalty."
The innings and 12-run defeat at Lord's was Ben Stokes' first since becoming full-time Test captain. He will hope to level the series when England face South Africa in the second Test at Old Trafford, starting on August 25.