England v Ireland: Joe Root's Headingley support role welcomed by captain John Crawley

ZAK CRAWLEY admits he was “shocked” to be named England captain for the one-day series against Ireland, more than two years after his only previous appearances in the format.

With England’s World Cup squad preparing to head for India, the selectors have cast their net far and wide for their three Metro Bank ODIs, but Crawley was still an unexpected pick as leader.

Despite being an ever-present in the Test side in recent times – and an Ashes star this summer – he has played only three 50-over games. They all came in the 2021 season, when Covid withdrawals left England scrambling for late replacements.

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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.

WANTED: England's Joe Root's presence against Ireland is welcomed by captain Josh Crawley. Picture: Joe Giddens/PAWANTED: England's Joe Root's presence against Ireland is welcomed by captain Josh Crawley. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA
WANTED: England's Joe Root's presence against Ireland is welcomed by captain Josh Crawley. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA

“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.”

While Crawley will be leading an inexperienced squad, including four uncapped players and seven more with six caps or fewer, Yorkshire’s vastly experienced Joe Root – England’s record-breaking Test captain – will be on hand on Wednesday to help out.

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LEADING MAN: England's Zak Crawley (right) ahead of a nets session at Headingley on Tuesday. Picture: Tim Goode/PALEADING MAN: England's Zak Crawley (right) ahead of a nets session at Headingley on Tuesday. Picture: Tim Goode/PA
LEADING MAN: England's Zak Crawley (right) ahead of a nets session at Headingley on Tuesday. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

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 lean series against New Zealand.

And for Crawley, having his first Test captain there will prove 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.”