Malan out to stake claim for World Cup spot in Twenty20 series
The Middlesex batsman continues to be overlooked for the one-day side.
Dawid Malan is hoping to offer a reminder of his England credentials after being handed an international lifeline in the West Indies.
Malan was dropped from the Test side seven months ago and has failed to break into a highly competitive limited-overs set-up on a consistent basis.
At 31, he has still not played a one-day international and has been overlooked for England’s last five Twenty20s, despite an enviable record in the format.
The Middlesex batsman has four half-centuries in his five outings, averages exactly 50 and boasts a bruising strike-rate of 150 but would probably not have got the call for Tuesday’s series opener in St Lucia had the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes not been excused.
All of which means he is playing for higher stakes than most over the next week.
“I still believe I can play international cricket. I still believe I’m good enough,” he said.
“The guys that haven’t been playing want to show what they can do and that’s a massive driver for us. It makes us a dangerous team with guys coming in wanting to prove a point.
“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.
“But 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.”
Meanwhile, talks are continuing behind the scenes to resolve television broadcast arrangements for the next two matches in St Kitts.
The deal originally agreed by Sky Sports was based on an itinerary which included only one T20, with another pair of fixtures added at a later date. Cricket West Indies was hoping to bank a significant additional payment for the double header, with games taking place in an attractive late evening slot in the UK, but the two parties have yet to come to terms.
With the Kittitian tourism board keen to attract eyes to the island and sponsors who demand visibility, some form of compromise appears likely as negotiations continue.
The West Indies will be without Andre Russell for the series, with the big-hitting all-rounder having suffered an adverse reaction to treatment received during his stint in the Pakistan Super League.
Test and one-day captain Jason Holder will lead the team ahead of regular skipper Carlos Brathwaite in a bid to build continuity ahead of this summer’s World Cup.