England have nothing to lose by picking Zak Crawley for second Test if Jos Buttler injured
Michael Atherton states England have”nothing to lose” by picking Zak Crawley for his introduction in case Jos Buttler is ruled out of the second Test against New Zealand during injury.
Buttler is no doubt for the match at Seddon Park, which after picking up a back injury at the fitness center, England has to win to level the series after dropping at Mount Maunganui.
Even though Sky Sports Cricket pundit Atherton supposes England might opt to bring in Chris Woakes should Buttler fail a fitness test ahead of the game, the England captain says that he wouldn’t be against giving a move to Crawley.
“England have got two choices,” reflected Atherton. “They could do a directly batsman in – along with the only spare batsman in the group will be Zak Crawley. That would be his debut.
“He is a 21-year-old opener from Kent; so that might mean that he batting from position at likely either five or six. Down there.
“Or they can bring in an extra all-rounder – somebody just like Chris Woakes. It’s all a bit conditions dependant.
“I think they were considering Woakes anyway, maybe even to get a spinner, because they think finger twist is somewhat inefficient on the flat pitches .
“They are trying to stiffen that bowling strike; they went for over 600 from the first Test and Archer went via 42 overs, thus a thick, heavy workload on him.
“Woakes would supply expertise. He he has great stamina.
“If there’s more at the pitch in Seddon Park, more swing and more seam, he then clearly offers you that as well. I suspect that.
“I would quite like to see Crawley myself. I’d be responsible for providing the likes of [Matt] Parkinson, [Saqib] Mahmood and Crawley a move in this game because it’s a show and there are now World Championship points in bet.
“We’ve got a four-Test series arriving from South Africa, so why not – what have you got to lose by looking at these players?”
The gloves had been recovered by buttler in Mount Maunganui, in which he scored 43 runs from the first innings but managed a duck from Jonny Bairstow for the series opener.
Atherton said his absence from the Test – and the character of his trauma – raises concerns regarding his ability to keep wicket for England.
“It is not perfect because he has 1 game into his new role as England’s professional wicketkeeper so he does not play with Ollie Pope has to take the gloves, then it’ll be the next distinct wicketkeeper in 3 Tests.
“Bairstow went house – he was here for a while and played at the T20s and remained on for a short while to pay Joe Denly but has gone now – so it’s Ollie Pope who’ll have to do it.
“He has just done it five times in 30-odd first-class games and I don’t think he’s done it since February in a first-class match. I have been seeing him tour and he has been doing lots with Bruce French, who’s the specialist wicketkeeping coach .
“But obviously it’s not an perfect option for England. The problem for Buttler is that when it’s just a back spasm that is tiny, these items – as I know to my cost – come and go plus a wicketkeeper is constantly down and up. He had been in the area for more than 200 overs in Mount Maunganui and if the pitch is level here he would have another long stint again.”
See day one of the second Test between New Zealand and England from 9.30pm, Thursday on Sky Sports Cricket.