England batsman Dawid Malan returns to Test duty this week determined to make up for lost time having been left feeling “very emotional” when dropped from the side three years ago.
The 33-year-old has been recalled for the third Test against India at his Headingley home ground starting Wednesday in a bid to add some steel to England’s fallible top order
It was against India that the now 33-year-old Malan last played Test cricket in 2018 only to then be dropped just five matches after finishing the 2017/18 Ashes as England’s top-scorer in Australia thanks to a well-made 140 in Perth.
Since then he has become a notable white-ball cricketer, with the left-hander now having been number one for nearly a year in the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 batting rankings.
His only first-class innings this season saw Malan make 199 for Yorkshire and now he wants to disprove the view of former England selection chief Ed Smith, the man who dropped him from the Test side, that he may be better suited to overseas conditions.
“I think at the time when you get dropped you’re very emotional, you feel you should be playing,” Malan told a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.
“You work your absolute socks off in your career to earn the right to play for England and you get that call. I didn’t score enough runs, especially in those last four or five Tests, so it was about the right time.
But to then have comments that derail you slightly as a player and get pigeonholed into things…it’s amazing how it leads to every single Tom, Dick and Harry having an opinion on you.
“It probably did affect me for the next four, five, six months; I went away and played some tournaments and I just couldn’t get in the right head space after all of that.
“Having a bit of a break and gathering my thoughts. I found a new lease of life and realised what I’d done wrong the first time….I have always wanted to have another crack at Test cricket. Realistically, did I think it would happen? Probably not, so it’s a fantastic opportunity.”
England are 1-0 down in a five-match series after a 151-run defeat in the second Test at Lord’s and Malan’s task has not been made any easier by a fixture schedule that means it is nearly three months since he last played any red-ball cricket and less than a week since he faced the very different demands of batting in the Hundred.
“But that’s the challenge,” said Malan, set to bat at number three against India, with Haseeb Hameed promoted to open in place of the dropped Dom Sibley.
“If we are here, we believe we are good enough and it’s up to us to find a way of batting for long periods of time. A good 30 or 60 is not good enough really, you want to score those big hundreds and to do that you have to bat for a day, day-and-a-half.”—AP