Zak Crawley admits he was “shocked” to be named England captain for the ODI series against Ireland, more than two years after his only previous appearances in the format.
Despite being an ever-present in the Test side in recent years – including opening in the Ashes this summer – he has played only three 50-over matches for his country. They all came in the 2021 season, when COVID withdrawals left England scrambling for late replacements.
Speaking at Headingley on the eve of his first outing in charge, the 25-year-old said: “Yeah, I was shocked. I was just hoping to get into the team and play more for England, but they told me I was captain and it’s a great opportunity for me.
“It was Motty (head coach Matthew Mott) who gave me the call to say I’d be in the squad and captaining. It was as simple as that. He was doing the rounds phoning everyone else, so it was a pretty brief phone call but a pretty good
call.” he added.
While Crawley will be leading an inexperienced squad in the three-match series, including four uncapped players and seven more with six caps or fewer, the vastly experienced Joe Root will be on hand on Wednesday to help out.
Like the rest of the first-choice squad, he was not due to feature but asked to play at his home ground in a bid to find some form after a series against New Zealand where he struggled for runs.
And for Crawley, having his first Test skipper there is a major boost.
“Obviously having Joe in the team makes it stronger, no matter what team you’re in. It’s great having him,” said Crawley.
“Especially so for me as captain because I can lean on him for that kind of stuff. It’s awesome and hopefully he gets what he wants from it.”
England’s three-match ODI series begins on Wednesday at Sky Sports Main Event from 12pm. You can also watch it unfold at the same time on Sky Sports Cricket.