IN DAWID MALAN, Yorkshire believe they have signed a man for all formats.
The 32-year-old England international has signed a four-year deal that brings him to Headingley next summer and ends a 13-year association with Middlesex, where he began his career back in 2006.
Malan still had two years on his current deal with Middlesex to run but, once it became clear that was not set in stone, Yorkshire were keen to sit down and talk about him continuing his career in Leeds.
The left-hander is currently out in New Zealand with the England T20 team in the middle of the five-match series with the Kiwis.
Opening the innings alongside new county team-mate Jonny Bairstow, Malan scored 11 in Friday’s seven-wicket win in the series opener in Christchurch, before hitting 39 in yesterday’s clash in Wellington which saw the hosts level the series with a 21-run victory.
Yorkshire first-team coach Andrew Gale, who next year enters his fourth season in charge after succeeding Jason Gillespie at the end of the 2016 campaign, believes Malan will bring some much-needed consistency to the top order, taking some of the pressure off fellow experienced left-handers Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance.
“It is a fantastic signing for us,” said Gale. “As soon as we realised that Dawid had the potential to leave Middlesex, he was a player that we always wanted to speak to. He fits the mould of what we are looking for.
“It is fair to say that we have lacked consistency with the bat for a number of years. We have looked at bringing people in for a while, but it had to fit the right mould for us.
We needed somebody with experience and Dawid has got Test experience. Not so long ago, we were watching him score runs for England in the Ashes. Hopefully, with his experience, it will give us a bit more consistency with the bat.Yorkshire coach, Andrew Gale
“We needed somebody with experience and Dawid has got Test experience. Not so long ago, we were watching him score runs for England in the Ashes.
“Hopefully, with his experience, it will give us a bit more consistency with the bat.”
Malan arrives in Leeds having enjoyed an impressive 2019 with the bat, particularly in the County Championship where, in Division Two, he averaged 47.86 while scoring 1,005 runs.
His overall first-class career average is 37.43 having amassed 11,229 runs, including 25 hundreds and 59 half-centuries. His Test career has been less rewarding his only hundred coming at the WACA during the 2017-18 Ashes series, in which he also added two half-centuries.
But he has been on the outside looking at the Test team since August last year, averaging 27.84 from 15 matches.
His ability to dig in and play long, arduous innings – as evidenced against the Australians in Perth in December 2017 – is something that clearly appealed to Yorkshire, but his ability to adapt to his surroundings is just as important to his new bosses.
His white-ball game sees him average 41.41 in List A cricket and 31.39 in Twenty20, the latter rising to 43.50 for England.
“He is an excellent white ball cricketer,” added Gale. “He had a good T20 campaign for Middlesex last year. When he gets in, he is very explosive. We have seen him at the top of the order recently for England.
“It creates a selection headache for us all. We feel that we need competition for places to push the lads who have been in the team for the last couple of years and to give us more depth. I think that Dawid gives us that.
“In red ball cricket over the last few years, Gary Ballance has carried the batting at times. We felt that we needed to add another player of that calibre to it.
“It will certainly help the younger players like Will Fraine, Harry Brook, Tom Loten, Matthew Revis and James Wharton who have had a taste of it and been in and around it. It will show them the standards that need to be set.”
Malan, a former Middlesex captain, said he was ready to embrace a new challenge in his career.
“I have had 13 happy and successful seasons with Middlesex, and I will always be grateful to the staff, players and supporters for their encouragement over the years,” he said.
“However, this feels like the right time to embrace a new challenge.
“I am excited by the prospect of joining Yorkshire, one of the great county clubs. I am looking forward to moving to Leeds, and starting a new chapter of my career.”