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Rob Key backs struggling England openers Zak Crawley and Alex Lees 

image-l7c3q16kCrawley has had a difficult time (PC: Twitter)

England openers Zak Crawley and Alex Lees are under pressure to perform. But at the same time, the duo have got the support of the cricket fraternity. Two days after their skipper Ben Stokes backed them, former England cricketer Rob Key has come out in their support.

In his last five outings in whites, Crawley has managed to score only 164 runs at an average of 16.40. He has not reached a half century in his last 15 Test innings. Additionally, his form in domestic cricket has also not been great– Crawley is averaging a mere 24.25 in the County Championship for Kent.

Most recently in the first Test against South Africa, Crawley scored 9 and 13 in the two innings. But with backing from the team management, he was included for the on-going second Test against the Proteas. Lees, on the other hand, has scored 271 runs at an average of 27.10 this summer.

Talking about the poor form of both the batsmen, Key, England’s director of men’s cricket, said that it is important for the management to persist with the opening combination and not tweak it unless very necessary.

“We just want to make sure we’re going to give people opportunity. If there’s ever a time when we have new opening batters or new players, they will know they will get the same amount of opportunity as these guys have done.

“We have spent 10 years since (Sir Andrew) Strauss and (Sir Alastair) Cook, trying to find an opening partnership and it is the toughest part of batting at the moment. We’ve gone backwards and forwards with all these different people, we’re going to give them a proper go,” Key added.

In the on-going second Test, Crawley showed some promise by scoring 38 runs in the first innings. Lees, however, was dismissed for just four runs. Having lost the first Test comprehensively, England will be looking to make a strong comeback in the second game.

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