Yorkshire’s international T20 ‘world’s best ever’ Dawid Malan deserves all the accolades - Martyn Moxon
IT would be no disrespect to Dawid Malan to say that he would perhaps not be the first name on everyone’s lips if asked to nominate the greatest batsman to have played T20.
Yet it is a proper tribute to the Yorkshire left-hander that, statistically, he is exactly that, having achieved the highest number of ratings points by anyone in T20 international history.
Malan’s player-of-the-series performance for England in South Africa saw him rise to 915 points in the International Cricket Council rankings, 44 points ahead of Pakistan’s Babar Azam in second place and 80 points in front of Australia’s Aaron Finch in third.
Eoin Morgan, in joint-10th, is the next best-placed Englishman, all of 253 points behind his former Middlesex team-mate, who left Lord’s for Emerald Headingley in November last year.
Martyn Moxon, head of the Yorkshire cricketing operation that brought him to the club, believes that Malan is No 1 on merit.
Successive scores of 55 and 99 not out helped England to a 3-0 series win in South Africa and left Malan with the remarkable record of having managed at least a half-century in 10 of his 19 T20 international innings.
Throw in an average of 53.43 and a strike-rate of nearly 150 runs per 100 balls, and it is easy to see why the 33-year-old has broken new ground in the rankings table.
For director of cricket Moxon, it is just reward for a player who has the sharpness of mind to go with the shots.
“Dawid’s stats are incredible really, especially in a format of the game in which the fine lines between success and failure are so small,” said Moxon.
“For him to have the average that he has and the strike-rate that he’s got is remarkable, and it just shows he knows his game inside out.
“Dawid has got the full range of shots required in that format of the game, and his decision-making is outstanding.
“It’s one thing having all the shots, but being able to execute them is key, and that’s what sets him apart – his ability to make the right options and execute them properly and successfully.”
Like all the top players, Malan has a steely determination and an inner drive to be the best.
Such characteristics have impressed Moxon, who has been delighted with the player’s overall attitude since joining Yorkshire.
“The first time Dawid came up to Yorkshire and had a nets session, he spoke to the Academy lads willingly and really well,” he added.
“Not only do we see him as an asset on the field, but also off the field as someone who can share his experience and knowledge with our younger players.
“What was very clear and evident when Dawid came to the club was how clear he is on his own game, what he needs to do to prepare for any particular game, and particular format of the game, and how meticulous he is in his preparation.
“Dawid has got his game worked out and I think that shows in the way he performs; he’s a winner who wants to be the best that he possibly can.”
Malan’s move north has been successful so far; he was Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer in the Bob Willis Trophy with 332 runs at 66.40, including a career-best 219 against Derbyshire at Headingley.
Although he made only four appearances in the T20 Blast due to England commitments, he is perhaps the perfect signing in that he is not presently in the Test or one-day international sides but has aspirations of forcing his way back into them, which he is most likely to do through weight of runs for Yorkshire.
Malan, who will shortly be playing for Hobart Hurricanes in the Australian Big Bash, has played 15 Tests – the last of them in August 2018 – and a solitary one-day international, against Ireland last year. Moxon believes he has the talent to play international cricket again in those formats.
“Dawid is certainly capable of playing for England in all three formats, which can only work to our advantage,” he said.
“He’s desperate to continue to play for England, and I think he sees red-ball cricket as a desire most definitely – to score as many runs as he can for Yorkshire, and to keep pushing for that Test recall.
“Dawid might have been a bit unlucky in the past, he might have been given a little bit more opportunity, but obviously selectors have to make those tough decisions.
“What I do know is that he’s got a huge desire to get a lot of runs over the next few years and to be part of a winning Yorkshire team and win trophies with Yorkshire.”
One thing is for certain, Malan will not fail to add to his tally of Test/one-day caps for want of trying. Nor will he readily relinquish his No 1 T20 player ranking.
“He’s certainly not going to coast,” said Moxon.
“He’ll always be driving himself on to be the best that he can.
“From our point of view, we’re just delighted to have an outstanding player – a world-class player as he’s proved of late.
“I think he’s enjoyed his short space of time at the club so far, and he’s been a massively positive influence on the dressing room.”
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