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Crane keen to show he can silence Aussie fans


By David Clough

Mason Crane will shut out the white noise of sledging from Australian crowds if he makes his debut in the Boxing Day Test.

Crane has been taken aback by the "verbals" from partisan spectators in this winter's Ashes.

But the 20-year-old leg-spinner may be about to put some distance between himself and the 90,000-plus baying hordes at the MCG.

Crane may face a straight battle with uncapped seamer Tom Curran to replace the injured Craig Overton in the fourth Test - and if he wins, he will be relieved to escape running drinks in front of the home support.

"The verbals going on in this series, I've never seen the like before," he said.

"Walking around is tough. If a bowler wants a drink on the far side, we're drawing straws."

He confirms that the content is often post-watershed.

"I'm not sure much of it can be repeated - it's not for families," Crane said.

"You just laugh it off. There's not much else you can do really. They're going to shout it (anyway)."

Whether he attracts the same attention in the middle is a moot point if asked to add to a team which has already lost the Ashes, but he's out to prove better than the current 3-0 scoreline.

"You spend your life growing up wanting to play for England, and I'm not going to let a few shouting Aussies get in the way of it," he said.

"If I do play Test cricket, I'm going to try and enjoy every moment."

Crane has noticed the barracking is not all in close-quarters audio.

"Seeing the way the press go, always leaning towards them and pushing us down... I think an Ashes series is above anything else," he said.

"The pressure around every ball and the hype is ridiculous really."

His prospects of a first cap are perhaps enhanced by the poor form of frontline spinner Moeen Ali - sure to retain his place as an all-rounder but arguably leaving the need for an alternative rather than another seamer.

Crane is on an upward curve - and asked how far his career can go, he said: "I just don't know.

"A couple of years ago I thought I'd be struggling to play county cricket and now I'm on an Ashes tour, so I'm not going to put a limit on it."

There are limits to his experience, but it is all relevant - notably two Twenty20 caps against South Africa last summer.

"In the second Twenty20 at Cardiff, (AB) de Villiers had a pop, hit a few away - and you're standing there not sure where to go," said Crane.

"Jos Buttler, the captain, comes up; I ask him, 'Where do I bowl?' He says, 'I dunno!'

"So I felt under pressure there, but I came through it - and that's an experience I can use."

Crane marked his first trip to Australia as a teenager last winter with such improvement in Sydney grade cricket that he was called in for a Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales.

"When I left for Australia last year, if someone said I'd be here now, you probably would have said they were being silly," he said.

The difference this time is all that extra attention.

One or two "had a pop" at a "young English" when he was playing for club side Gordon, but Crane added: "Most of the time my grade team were winning - so they couldn't say too much."

Twelve months on, the same does not apply to England.

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