|| AFP ||
England assistant coach Graham Thorpe has told his side's struggling batsmen to prove they are desperate to keep their places after their flop against New Zealand.
England suffered a first home Test series defeat in seven years after collapsing against New Zealand at Edgbaston at the weekend.
Most of the top batsmen in Joe Root's team were out of form once again and New Zealand took full advantage of their woes.
Root's tally of 891 runs in eight Tests in 2021 puts him 562 ahead of Dan Lawrence, who is England's second highest scorer over that period.
England's Test batting averages for the year reveal the depth of the problem, with Lawrence (29.90), Ollie Pope (21.54), Dom Sibley (21.35) and Zak Crawley (10.25) all out of touch.
Root suggested at the weekend that those players are still England's best options and would benefit from a prolonged show of faith.
But Thorpe, who works under head coach Chris Silverwood, wants to see those underachievers fight for their spots as Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler aim to return for the Test series against India in August.
"These players have to show a desperation to stay in the side, they've got to earn the right to stay in the side," Thorpe said.
"They will be fully aware of that, because we've got some players who will come back into that team and there are others on the outside putting pressure on too. There is competition for places which is a healthy thing for a team.
"That competition should drive the individual on so when they get in, they smell that opportunity to perform and go and do it. You do have to keep producing and your right-hand (runs) column is very important; it's what keeps you in the team."
Crawley was picked on potential despite a modest first-class record but showed his potential when he scored 267 against Pakistan last August.
Yet, having been tipped as a future star, he has been dismissed in single figures nine times from his last 12 attempts.
Thorpe admitted Crawley must learn from his struggles, saying: "He's young, both in terms of age and his Test career.
"If he goes away and keeps working at his game I'm sure he will be successful, but you do have to learn from these moments so that when you come back you are better for it.
"As coaches that is what we are looking at: do you have the game, (and) the mental fortitude to improve and learn and push yourself forward when you have a bump in the road?"