Zak Crawley says he ‘doesn’t care’ about online criticism of his selection in the England Test squad.
The fly-half, who was named in the squad to face Ireland on Tuesday, is not on social media which he says helps him block out “outside noise”.
The 25-year-old said he now tries to “worry less” about the end results when at bat and follow the philosophy of his hero, snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“I never see any of this [online criticism]”, he told BBC Sport.
“I talk to guys who have social media and they see this. They see Joe Bloggs attacking them.
“[Being off] social media helps me distance myself from the average bettor and what they have to say, which of course I don’t care about anyway.”
Crawley was first picked for England in 2020 aged 21 despite having a modest first-class record.
His 33-game Test career included significant highs, including 267 against Pakistan in 2020but series of low scores.
“At times last year, I definitely felt I got a lot of scrutiny, some of it unwarranted,” he said, while admitting he had “not performed as well than the others”.
“I was playing well and getting decent scores and still under scrutiny, but it’s easy to comment,” he added.
In the County Championship this year, Crawley scored 467 points at an average of 27.47, including 170 against Essex, and was named in the squad to face Ireland from June 1, the only game of England before the start of the Ashes on June 16.
“I obviously always see the pundits and people higher up in cricket and of course I didn’t have to read the papers to know my place was under scrutiny,” he said.
“I didn’t get the points I should have, but I had some good shots.”
The Kent batter added: “My failures in international cricket are because of putting too much pressure on myself. That’s the only reason. Whenever I’ve come out with the right attitude, I’ve done well.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about my game, especially in the last two months. I look back on the times when I’ve played well and I’m taking the expectations off of myself and just trying to play.
“A lot of people talk about scoring hundreds all the time in cricket. I’m coming to believe that’s nonsense.
“I just want to go out there and play well and the score will come after that.”
England manager Brendon McCullum has regularly backed Crawley, despite saying his “skills are not to be a consistent cricketer”.
“I completely understand what he means and I think people misunderstood him,” Crawley said.
“He means make sure your best is always very good. Don’t waste your best to be more consistent.
“It’s fine, a few misses, if I can produce a quick 170 or big hundred.
“Being consistent sometimes you have to master that. I’m okay with that. I don’t want to waste my best shots to be more consistent.”
“He’s Someone to Imitate” – Crawley on O’Sullivan
Crawley said he admired the mindset of O’Sullivan, who often spoke of his relaxed manner and won a joint-record seven world titles.
The right-hander said he played golf to escape the pressures of cricket but also ran, another resemblance to O’Sullivan.
“He’s someone to emulate for sure – his mindset,” Crawley said.
“Curiously, what I was saying, it was from him that I heard it for the first time.
“He did an interview when he won the semi-final against Mark Selby in 2020 and they asked him if he was happy to be in the World Finals, and he said “I just want my cue action back.”
“I just thought it was so good. He took all that noise off and just wanted to play well. That’s what I want to do.”
Crawley’s third and final century of testing has been impressive 122 v Pakistan in December, but he hasn’t made fifty in four tests since.
“I could play brilliantly for 20 years and get a good ball,” he said.
“You could play terribly percent and everyone say ‘well beaten’, when in fact I played better for 20. You have to judge it on your terms.”
I’m ready if Stokes gets injured – Pope
Meanwhile, England have appointed striker Ollie Pope as vice-captain with immediate effect.
The 25-year-old, whose only experience as captain was a game for Surrey, as well as England tour games when skipper Ben Stokes was rested, said he is ready to captain this summer if needed .
“There is only one Ben Stokes,” Pope said. “I have watched closely how he approaches things.
“If he were to get injured, I wouldn’t try to replicate exactly what he does in terms of talking to his team and that sort of thing, but if it were to happen [I would] just implement the same ideas and messages.
“Fingers crossed he can stay fit, stay in the park, score his runs and take his wickets, but if necessary I feel well enough placed to take over.”