Dawid Malan may have missed out on a place in the national side for the T20I series against India, but he is looking forward to donning the pink jersey next week, at Lord’s, when his side (Middlesex) takes on Surrey in the Vitality T20 Blast. Speaking of the taxing T20 season ahead, Malan opined that T20 tournaments get great recognition around the world, and also posed many brow-raising questions regarding the uncertainties hovering around 100-ball cricket.
“It’s not to say that it won’t work but the T20 tournament for me is the one that will be recognised around the world, that all the players will play, that you’ll be selected to play internationally in T20 cricket, and I can’t see 100-ball cricket having a place if I’m honest,” Malan said during the launch of Vitality IT20, which is going to kick-off with the one-off T20I against Australia at Edgbaston on 27 June.
While lauding ECB’s initiative, Malan noted that T20 cricket remains the main priority and added the uncertainty surrounding the 100-ball format makes players ask relevant questions about it. “Fifty-over cricket has been dying for the last 10, 15 years, but it seems to be getting stronger and stronger now with the way it’s been reinvented by the players, so I think it’s a good initiative from the ECB to bring a franchise system in, but I still think T20 is your key and T20 is what everyone associates with.
“I just think it’s the unknown of what happens if we don’t get picked up, where are we going to be, where are we going to play, will we play 40-over cricket, 50-over cricket, are we going to have five weeks off, what are we doing? No one really knows what’s happening and I think that’s why a lot of us are standing up and asking relevant questions,” he observed.
Malan, who claimed a Man of the Match award in his debut game (44-ball 78) for his country (versus South Africa last year), credited T20s for his willingness to handle pressure in all formats of the game. “I think one of the major things in international cricket is to learn how to handle pressure.
“You’ve got to deal with the pressure and the scrutiny from the media and the thing that T20 teaches you is that you have to be able to handle pressure. If you can handle those pressures and be able to go out there and express yourself while you’re under pressure, while you’re being judged, while you’re definitely being looked at and broken apart in every aspect, it gives you that opportunity and gives you that mental strength that you need to succeed at Test level,” he noted.
Mark Wood, another notable exclusion from England’s T20 squad, also agreed with Malan’s views on the 100-ball format and feels that the format might enable an opportunity for the batters to dent the confidence of the already-under-pressure bowlers.
“I think a lot of batters are queuing up for this in the competition. For me personally I’m not a massive fan of that, I mean I’d give it a good go but to think you could go for 60 in ten balls… especially if the first two balls go for six, you’ll be thinking ‘oh no, I’ve got eight balls to go here’ so it’s not going to be the best.
“It’s not the physicality, it’s more the mental state of getting hit for a couple of sixes early doors but if it is a ten-ball over then it could change the game dramatically, couldn’t it? Why not just have two bowlers that just bowl from one end each. You play nine batsmen and have two bowlers, we’ll get smacked and you can just keep,” he noted.
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