Zak Crawley has responded to criticism aimed over his batting performances for the national team and believes England head into The Ashes as "favourites" in an exclusive chat with


The England Test opener spoke at a media day for The Hundred – which takes place in August, immediately after The Ashes – but his mind is firmly set on the summer showdown with Australia.

Crawley's continued inclusion in the team is a big talking point given that in-form Ben Foakes was dropped to make way for returning batter Jonny Bairstow in the squad for the summer.

The 25-year-old understands – and enjoys – opinions in sport, but called for the need to base opinions in the middle, as opposed to a polarising extreme on the scale.

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Crawley said: "When I watch a game of football, I'm critical of people, you know. I like that, I think that's a great thing about sport, everyone just has their opinion.

"Whether I listen to the opinion or not is completely different. At times in the past I probably have fallen into that little bit of listening to opinions and letting it affect me, but I feel in a good place at the moment where I'm only worried about what I'm doing and playing well and the score will take care of itself.

"Everyone's going to have an opinion and rightly so, I haven't scored, set the world alight, but, you know, every game is an opportunity.

"One good score and suddenly you're the best young player in the country again, which is wrong, and then I'm the worst player in the world when I do badly.

"It's usually somewhere in between. If I score 100 in the first Ashes Test, everyone goes, 'What a player!' They're both nonsense. You've just got to stay down the middle somewhere."

Crawley boasts an average of 27.60 with the bat across 33 international Test matches, an average replicated, almost to the decimal, against Australia during the last Ashes series.

He failed to reach 20 runs in four of his six innings Down Under and described the intimidating experience of being an opener, first in the firing line to face a bowler running in at pace, an experience shared by a relatively tiny minority of those who play the game.

He said: "It's funny because every moment before [the bowler running in] is like, you see the crowd and you're getting revved up and you're thinking about all the different scenarios that could happen. And then, I know it's a bit cliché, when the bowler starts running in, you just get back into a mindset. You don't see anyone other than him.

"I remember last time in The Ashes, in between balls, you're like, 'I'm in the MCG, Boxing Day Test,' and it was crazy, but I remember Pat Cummins running in, I hit a nice shot down the ground for three, and it just felt like a normal game. As soon as [the bowler] gets into his delivery stride, it's just cricket again, although everything around is much bigger."

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Pressed on whether it's more intimidating when an Australian is the man bearing down on him, he said: "Yeah, I suppose so. I've always enjoyed that, though, the bigger the hype. I feel like my body reacts better. The nerves make you react quicker, almost, so I've always quite enjoyed that and it's a great experience afterwards.

Zak Crawley in action in The Ashes
Crawley faced a bombardment during the last Ashes series in Australia. Getty Images

"It's intimidating and Australia make it intimidating, they want it to be so, they're very aggressive and they're very good, but it's just cricket when it comes down to it."

However, for all the Australians' style and quality, Crawley believes England are in great shape to claim The Ashes this summer: "I think we're in with a good chance, certainly a better chance than the last series. I think we're favourites in these conditions.

Crawley believes the general vibe and attitude around the England Test team is "massively" changed from the last Ashes series: "Now we're looking to make the plays. It seems like there we were almost just reacting to what was happening and you can't do that against Australia they'll just eat you alive, especially down there.

"I think the fact that we're going to be positive and try to put it back on them, it might not work, but it's so much better that way than the way we tried last time."

Once The Ashes wraps up, Crawley will take a brief rest before planting himself in the London Spirit squad to compete in The Hundred, where he hopes to play a major role.

A number of matches across the men's and women's editions of The Hundred will be showcased live on BBC throughout the duration of the competitions.

We will be bursting with coverage once the tournament draws near, so stay tuned for all the latest information, scheduling and ways to keep up with some of the biggest names in world cricket slogging it out at a ground near you.

Coverage of The Hundred will be live across BBC TV, iPlayer, Sounds and online.

If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide, or visit our Sport hub.

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