England batsman Zak Crawley insists the hosts will have no trouble motivating themselves for this week’s fifth Test against Australia even though they can no longer regain the Ashes.
What had looked like being a thrilling series decider at The Oval has had some of the edge removed after England’s quest to draw level in the fourth Test at Old Trafford was thwarted by rain, with only 30 overs possible across the final two days.
England dominated proceedings in Manchester, with Crawley’s superb 189 against Test world champions Australia the standout individual performance.
But a rain-marred draw left England 2-1 down in the series with just this week’s Test to come and Australia – as the holders – assured of retaining the Ashes.
Nevertheless, a win for England at The Oval would deny Australia their first away Ashes series victory since 2001.
“We’re massively up for it,” said Crawley, the series’ leading run-scorer with 385.
“As Ben Stokes says, we’re building as a team, this isn’t the end just because it’s the end of the Ashes. Hopefully, it’s very much the start.
“I think 2-2 would be fair.”
Prior to this series, a run of low scores saw Crawley’s Test place called into question. But England captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum continued to back the 25-year-old opener, an ever-present in the ‘Bazball’ era.
“I feel I’m as good a player as I have ever been, I feel good about my game,” said Crawley. “Fast bowling suits my game and the Australian attack is a quick attack.
“I think a bit less when they’re faster.”
Crawley has long been a target for social media abuse, even though he has long cut himself off from all networks.
“When I first went off social media I was doing alright,” he said. “It was more getting away from it, even the good stuff, you can get carried away.
“I won’t be reading it now I’ve got runs. I’ll be keeping myself to myself, listen to close friends and family whose opinions of me as a cricketer and a person – they’re the only opinions I care about.”
© Agence France-Presse