Such was the nature of Zak Crawley’s maiden Test century that even his mentor Rob Key was left in a state of disbelief.
England’s No.3 finished the opening day of the third Test against Pakistan unbeaten on 171, leading his side to 332-4, as his 269-ball knock – including 19 fours – underpinned the total.
In the post-stumps press conference, Crawley credited work he’d done with former Kent captain Key in helping him get to this stage of his career.
“I do as much as work as I can with Rob Key during the summers,” said Crawley. “He’s busy with Sky most of the time but if I can see him once a month to stay in check, he’s a great cricket brain.”
Key, on the other hand, was full of praise for the 22-year-old after play while on punditry duties for Sky.
“It’s an amazing day, really,” said the former England batsman. “I have seen him for a fair while and he has just got better and better.
“There’s no way I thought he could play as well as that; I knew he was a good player, but that’s just been a completely different level.
“Two years ago, you’d speak about whether or not he was going to get in the Kent side and the Kent second team, whether or not he was going to get a contract. Two years later he’s out there scoring a hundred for England.
“He’s always looked at himself from a critical angle but never been too hard on himself that he’s lost confidence; he’s always thought: ‘How can I be better?’ And he’s always taken it upon himself to do that. Whatever he’s needed to do, he’s done it himself.”