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Kent rookie Crawley enjoying his fine start to the season

PUBLISHED: 13:10 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:10 25 April 2019

Kent's Zak Crawley during day one of the Specsavers County Championship, Division One match at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Kent's Zak Crawley during day one of the Specsavers County Championship, Division One match at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

PA Wire/PA Images

Kent's rookie opening batsman Zak Crawley has enjoyed a fine start to the 2019 campaign scoring heavily in both red and white-ball cricket.

Crawley, who came of age with his 21st birthday in February, has strengthened his place at the top of the club's batting order by scoring a Specsavers County Championship century in Kent's win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston and followed up with decent scores of 49 and 85 in Kent's Royal London One-Day Cup defeats to Hampshire and Gloucestershire.

“I'm very pleased with how I'm playing right now,” said the Old Tonbridgian.

“I had a good winter away in Australia playing with Sydney Cricket Club, Joe Denly's old side, and then felt in really good touch once I went over to South Africa for pre-season with the Kent squad.

“It's nice to start the season well and get an early hundred because that just takes the pressure off and eases the expectation a little.

“Because I feel in such great touch I'd like to have converted a few more of my starts, but that's just being a bit picky. I'm genuinely delighted.

“Joe helped put me in touch with Sydney Cricket Club and I really enjoyed my time over there.

“They were lovely decks and it's a really pretty ground, right on the harbour, so apart from having fun I felt my cricket improved too.

“There was a bit of chirp flying about, that's the way they play the game over there, which tests you mentally. “They're giving you 'pelters' from all directions and you have to learn to cope with it and keep your focus.

“The strange thing is, coming back to play in county cricket, it seems really quiet out in the middle by comparison.”

And Crawley built on his career-best championship score of 168 against Glamorgan last September with his maiden championship century on the road – scoring 108 and 45 in Kent's four-day win in Birmingham on April 14.

“I used to dream about playing at places like Edgbaston and to get my first away hundred on a Test ground felt pretty special,” the tall right-hander said.

“It was a lovely deck and to score runs on a pitch where Test legends have performed felt fantastic. Added to which, Warwickshire had a really good side out, so that made it all the more special.

“The trick now is to score more consistently in the 50-over stuff and maybe play my way into the T20 side later in the summer.”

Kent take a brief yet possibly much-needed break from their Royal London One-Day Cup south group fixtures on Saturday when they take on Pakistan in a one-day tour match in Beckenham (11am start).

The county's horrendous injury list is reducing at long last but their three all-rounders; Calum Haggett, Darren Stevens and Grant Stewart, may still need further time on the treatment table.

Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures link: https://www.ecb.co.uk/matches/one-day-cup/fixtures

Kent tickets link: http://www.kentcricket.co.uk/tickets-and-shop/.

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