“I did think I was probably a waste of money at one point, getting paid to sit on my backside,” joked the man who signed from Middlesex almost nine months ago.
Malan donned the White Rose for the first time in Tuesday’s pre-season practice against Durham at Headingley, scoring 12 and 64 not out.
On Saturday he will line up against them at Chester-le-Street in Yorkshire’s opening game in the Bob Willis Trophy.
“It’s great to be out there again,” said Malan, whose recruitment helps to make Yorkshire strong candidates in the northern section.
“The toughest thing when you move to a new club is trying to fit into the change room and to actually perform and score some runs so that you are accepted.
“It was nice to get a score [in the friendly] just to feel a bit more comfortable in the team. The boys have been fantastic ever since I arrived.”
Malan, who has played 15 Tests, 10 T20 internationals and a one-day international, represents a top signing for a club which now believes it is ready to win silverware again.
Yorkshire have effectively been in transition ever since Malan was part of the Middlesex side that denied them a hat-trick of County Championship titles in 2016 but, through a combination of astute recruitment and their own player development, the club looks ready to kick on.
“I like [head coach] Andrew Gale’s openness that we want to win trophies,” said Malan. “I really like that. You can see the excitement among the boys as well, not having played for so long, and there’s a feeling around the group that everyone is excited for the games to come.
“I want to win trophies and, hopefully, we can push to win the Bob Willis Trophy.”
Malan, who will also be a key figure as Yorkshire attempt to win the T20 later in the summer, likes the whole concept of the one-off Willis competition which is being played in place of the longer Championship.
The 18 counties have been split into three regional groups of six, with each team playing five games and the two group winners with the most points progressing to the final.
“It’s nice to see these three groups, and it will be interesting to see if that catches on,” said Malan, hinting at possible changes to the Championship’s two-division format, which have long been mooted.
“If it does, it might even end up being a draw over the next few years, where all the names go in the hat and you don’t just play the same teams every time. It’s actually quite a nice way of doing it.
“It could evolve this way [the Championship]. Everyone’s trying to find a way to keep growing the game and move it forward, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this tournament goes.”
Malan, 32, is relishing the return of competitive action and the challenge presented by a Durham side he rates highly - one coached by his former Middlesex team-mate James Franklin.
But he has also taken plenty from recent weeks, not least the chance to get to know and work closely with Yorkshire coach Gale.
“The Covid stuff has allowed us to do more one-on-one work, with the various regulations and things, which has given me a chance to get to know Galey really well,” he said.
“I obviously played against him for years, but you never really know someone until you actually get into someone’s environment. It’s been everything I’ve wanted in terms of one-on-one work.”
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