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Dawid Malan looking to cash in on T20 opportunity in West Indies

Malan has scored four half-centuries in five international T20 appearances to date.

Dawid Malan is looking to take his chance in the T20 series (Simon Cooper/PA)
Dawid Malan is looking to take his chance in the T20 series (Simon Cooper/PA)

Dawid Malan is eager to make an impression after returning to the England fold for the first since he was ruthlessly dropped last summer.

Malan lost his Test shirt last August, seven matches after a breakthrough Ashes hundred in Perth, having already been cast aside from the Twenty20 squad.

His dropping from the five-day format was awkwardly handled, with national selector Ed Smith appearing the suggest Malan’s style was not suited to home conditions, but his omission in the shortest format was arguably even harsher.

Any opportunity you get you have to make it count or somebody else takes that spot. Dawid Malan

In five appearances to date he has already scored four half-centuries, averaging exactly 50 with a punishing strike-rate of 150. His exile might well have continued had England gone with a full-strength squad for their three T20s against the West Indies but with Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes all excused the 31-year-old has been handed the chance to re-state his credentials.

“It’s never easy being dropped, it’s your dream to play international cricket and you think it’s gone at that time,” he said ahead of the series opener in St Lucia.

“It’s been tough. From a personal point of view you always want to play more and when you do average 50 with a strike-rate of 150 you do, probably selfishly, think you should be playing a bit more.

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Dawid Malan hit his highest T20 score of 78 against South Africa in the summer of 2017 (Nigel French/PA)

“That’s just the strength and depth of this white-ball team. To get into it and stay in it is tough. Any opportunity you get you have to make it count or somebody else takes that spot. You can do all your talking off the field but at the end of the day it’s what matters on the field. If I can score some runs that would do me the world of good.”

Malan enjoys a good relationship with his former county colleague Smith, but did seek to clarify a perception that he had been tagged as an ‘overseas specialist’. As someone approaching his 13th year of first-class cricket in England, it was not one he was keen to accept.

“I played with Ed at Middlesex and I’ve never had an issue with him,” said Malan.

  • 53 v New Zealand, 18 Feb 2018
  • 59 v New Zealand, 13 Feb 2018
  • 10 v Australia, 10 Feb 2018
  • 50 v Australia, 7 Feb 2018
  • 78 v South Africa, 25 June 2017

“We did speak about a few things and were quite honest with each other, which is the way it should be. Every time I’ve had a question he’s answered it honestly. There’s been no dramas about that.

“It’s obviously hard when you play your whole career in a country to be told you’re suited somewhere else, but the way he explained it to me made more sense than the way it came across in the press. It’s pretty simple: score big runs, play the right way and if there’s a spot available he could come knocking.”

The final two games of England’s Caribbean tour take place in St Kitts, but television broadcast arrangements have yet to be finalised.

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Dawid Malan raises his bat after reaching his century in the Ashes Test at Perth in December 2017 (Jason O’Brien/PA)

The initial deal Sky Sports agreed included just one T20, with the second and third added to the itinerary at a later date. A fee has still not been settled to cover the fixtures and negotiations are continuing.

Press Association Sport understands Cricket West Indies are confident of a resolution, while Sky employees have retained their travel and hotel bookings in St Kitts.

With the local tourism board keen to attract eyes, sponsors who demand visibility and an evening audience awaiting in the United Kingdom, some form of compromise appears likely.

PA

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