England's Crawley up for more bubbles to play Test cricket

·3 min read
Zak Crawley hit 267 against Pakistan in just his eighth Test during the 2020 summer

England batsman Zak Crawley said on Wednesday he feels no pressure playing cricket in a bubble and views a possible series win in Sri Lanka as a decisive step towards the Test championship final.

All-rounder Moeen Ali tested positive for Covid-19 after the touring side landed in the island nation on Sunday for a two-Test series starting January 14.

The rest of the team returned negative tests and went through their first training session in Hambantota in the south of the island.

"It's fine to be honest. You wouldn't choose it but it's the situation we are in," Crawley told reporters in a virtual chat from his hotel room in Hambantota.

"When we are out of quarantine we have a good laugh and we are out here playing cricket in the sun so it doesn't get better than that.

"I am absolutely loving it. Not feeling any pressure in the bubble for me -– it is what it is.

"I have accepted that this is how we are going to play Test cricket and I would do a lot more bubbles to play Test cricket."

England, led by Joe Root, are placed fourth in the inaugural Test championship table led by New Zealand. Australia and India are second and third.

Crawley, who made his Test debut in November 2019, believes a win in Sri Lanka would improve their chances to be in the top two before travelling to India for four Tests.

"Any series win in the subcontinent is a great win and obviously we need the win with the Test Championship to get to the final at Lord's," said Crawley.

"It is a build-up to India - but we've got to take Sri Lanka first. If we don't win that we're going to be struggling to get to Lord's."

Crawley, a top-order batsman made an early impression in his eighth Test after notching a career-high 267 in a series win against Pakistan in Southampton in August.

- 'Likely I will open' -

The 22-year-old Kent batsman is expected to open in the absence of Rory Burns, who missed the tour due to the birth of his first child, and is looking forward to the opportunity.

"I haven't been told anything yet but I assume that might be the case (opening the batting)," he said.

"I'm happy to bat in any of those positions but I think it's quite likely I will open and I'm looking forward to that."

Crawley scored a century in his team's warm-up game in Sri Lanka last year before the match and the tour was cancelled due to the pandemic.

He also handled Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah with aplomb during his marathon innings last year and said it gives him confidence to tackle spin in the sub-continent.

"He's a great bowler and I managed to play him quite well -- that gave me quite a bit of confidence," he said.

"They're all (sub-continent spinners) quite skiddy bowlers compared to English bowlers and Australian spinners maybe. Hopefully I can take some of the stuff I learned in the summer against them."

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