England batsman Dawid Malan is excited about facing the red ball after a spree of limited-overs cricket. The Yorkshire batsman has been recalled to the England squad for the third Test against India, with Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both dropped from the 15-man squad.
Malan recently played for Trent Rockets in the inaugural Hundred tournament and scored 214 runs from nine innings. Speaking about his surprise call-up and quick shuffle between formats, Malan said: “I’d always wanted another crack at it (Tests). Realistically, did I think it would happen? Probably not. To get that call was fantastic. My worry at the time was when’d I get a day off. If we won the semifinal playoff in the Hundred, I’d have had 12 days on the trot if I play the Test. A bit worried about that and how I’d face up against the red ball, but it’s always exciting getting a call to play for your country.”
Malan played the last of his 15 Tests in August 2018. The 33-year-old, who has 725 Test runs in 15 matches with one hundred and six fifties, is likely to take the number three position.
Malan, the world’s No. 1 T20 batsman, acknowledged that constant exposure to international cricket would help ease the pressure on him. “White ball and red-ball cricket have their own unique set of challenges. But playing white-ball cricket under that level and pressure does help you to stay in the mix. It doesn’t guarantee you runs in a different format, but it helps mentally to prepare for the pressures that come with it,” Malan said.
Catching up with Joe Root
The 33-year-old conceded that lack of game time in first-class cricket would be a concern, as has been the case with the English batsmen so far in the series, save skipper Joe Root. “We all know how tough English conditions can be at times. It’s also a great place to bat once you get in – as Joe Root has shown in all these Tests. Even if he gets a bit off a nibble, he gets in and scores big, and that’s the challenge for all of us,” he said.
Malan has played a solitary county game this season – scoring 199 in his lone innings for Yorkshire against Sussex in June. “Yes, not playing enough red ball games probably doesn’t help with the rhythm and flow of Test cricket, but that’s the challenge, and we believe we are good enough to be here and find a way to bat for long periods.”
Kohli, an infectious leader
India has taken a 1-0 lead ahead of Thursday’s third Test. Malan credited India’s success to skipper Virat Kohli’s leadership and said: “I think they’re very well-led. Virat, the way he goes about his business is very infectious. They’ve got a lot of depth in batting and bowling as well. They’ve got bowlers who can win Test in all conditions.”