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Zak Crawley: England’s maverick match-winner or an Ashes gamble destined to fail?

Throughout their year-long reign, Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes have gone out to bat for their opener more often than for any other player, and at intervals rather more frequent than ideal.

The philosophy of England’s leadership relies, after all, on inflating their players with abnormal levels of self-belief and that Crawley has so regularly been in need of a public tyre-pumping speaks plenty for his struggles. The 25-year-old’s average of 25.86 in the Bazball era is easily the lowest of any of the batters named in yesterday’s first Test squad of the summer.

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