Dawid Malan has used ‘being the best batsman in the world’ as a stepping stone to competence

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It’s like they always say: being the top-ranked batsman in the world can be a real confidence-booster and may even help you secure a place in the first team.

When Dawid Malan became the number one batsman in T20 internationals in September, the general reaction could be summed up as, “We always knew these rankings were a load of hairy cobblers.”

Clearly drunk on his own success, Malan himself reacted by making outlandish statements such as, “I’ll bat anywhere to get a game,” and, “Every opportunity is gold when you’re trying to break into this team.”

This was very much in keeping with his role as the Ann Veal of England batsmen. (Further evidence: we had honestly forgotten that he batted left-handed when we first saw him on the highlights this week. Rest assured, we will forget again.)

The thing is, if you tell someone they’re good at something for long enough, eventually they’ll start to believe you. Utterly brainwashed, Malan apparently now feels obliged to play the occasional number-one-in-the-world-ish innings. Towards the end, he was very definitely trying to hit the ball not just into the stands, but very, very far back in the stands.

Malan did at least accidentally win the match with a single to deny himself a hundred, which is perhaps evidence that he’s not yet 100 per cent comfortable with being centre stage.

In rather more tragic news, Temba Bavuma did not try and play a ramp shot.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. The last sentence just makes the article what it is.

    I think that his beard is also a sign of his own competence, similar to Stuart Broads (u can’t see his very well tho). It just gives you a sense that he ‘knows’ about his own batting and his beard.

  2. Was the single accidental? Was he scared of getting a dressing-down if he turned the chance of a single down in order to give himself another shot?

    Haven’t seen the match or highlights so I don’t know, have received conflicting information on this point and it may require magisterial authority to settle the matter.

    1. I’m far from magisterial but I did watch the end of the game.

      My perception is that Dawid either lost track of the match score, his individual score or both. He looked strangely cog-dissed when England won, between celebrating and self-berating for not getting home (or out) in style.

      And as a partial answer to Benks’s question, I think Eoin is different in that regard; I think genuinely it would only be the team result that would matter to him at that juncture.

    2. It looked like a deliberate single combined with slight unawareness of the match situation.

      1. Ta to the both of you.

        England’s T20I top scores now look like: https://stats.espncricinfo.com/england/engine/records/batting/most_runs_innings.html?class=3;id=1;type=team

        Player R B 4s 6s SR
        AD Hales 116* 64 11 6 181.25 v Sri Lanka at Chattogram (27 Mar 2014, T20I # 387)
        DJ Malan 103* 51 9 6 201.96 v New Zealand at Napier (8 Nov 2019, T20I # 1008)
        LJ Wright 99* 55 8 6 180.00 v Afghanistan at Premadasa Stadium, Colombo (21 Sep 2012, T20I # 268)
        DJ Malan 99* 47 11 5 210.63 v South Africa at Cape Town (1 Dec 2020, T20I # 1113)
        AD Hales 99 68 6 4 145.58 v West Indies at Nottingham (24 Jun 2012, T20I # 246)
        AD Hales 94 61 11 2 154.09 v Australia at Chester-le-Street (31 Aug 2013, T20I # 329)

        Aside from the domination of just a few names in the list, when England’s team selection hasn’t been nearly so consistent, it’s striking there are more 99s than centuries, and a tied number of 99*s and centuries…

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