Mark Butcher, talking on the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast, has said that Zak Crawley’s spot for the first Test against New Zealand in June could be in danger, calling for youngsters Harry Brook or Josh Bohannon to make the squad.
England are expected to announce their squad for the Tests against New Zealand later this week, with the selectors expected to have a discussion on Crawley’s spot. The opener has been in woeful form after scoring 121 against West Indies in March, with scores of 0, 40, 7, and eight in his next four Test innings. The Kent batter has registered a string of low scores in this year’s County Championship as well, with a high score of 54 in eight innings. He currently averages 19.50 with four scores of less than 10.
Butcher, talking on Wisden Cricket Weekly’s podcast, believes that Crawley’s spot could stir up a debate. “Zak Crawley has finished off after making the one hundred in the Caribbean. He finished off quite miserably in that series, and has not got off to a fabulous start at the beginning [of the 2022 County Championship],” he said. “In fact, that’s the understatement of the year, he’s averaging 17 [19.50], I think. So, there’s an argument to say that someone else should be walking out and opening the batting with Alex Lees, presuming that he maintains his spot, which I think he should. He deserves another five or six Test matches to go with the three that he played in the West Indies.”
Lees made his Test debut for England against West Indies, making 126 runs at an average of 21.
Butcher was also keen to see uncapped youngsters Harry Brook or Josh Bohannon at No.3 if Dawid Malan does not make the cut. Malan’s last Test appearance was in the 2021/22 Ashes.
Brook currently leads the run-scoring charts in Division One of the County Championship, with 758 runs in eight innings with three hundreds and an average of 151.60. Bohannon, the 25-year-old from Lancashire, has registered one hundred from five innings, making 308 runs at an average of 61.60.
“Harry Brook has gone off like a house on fire. He’s definitely in form. Dawid Malan would be the obvious in making the England team more resilient and less brittle. Dawid Malan has got off to a fabulous start. He’d be the perfect fit at No.3 if you didn’t want to throw one of the youngsters, uncapped players, Bohannon or Brook into the spot at No.3. So, I would have no issue with that.”
Earlier, Kevin Pietersen had also pushed for the selection of Brook in the Test side, saying that the 23-year-old has “great skill and a proper mentality” along with a “bit of oomph.”