Yesterday we asked the question if Alex Hales should be reinstated into the T20 side? One aspect of that argument was based around his off-field problems, but the bigger question was around whether England actually needed him.
England are blessed to have so many incredible white-ball cricketers at the moment, especially batsmen. Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton etc etc etc
One player that often gets overlooked is former Middlesex and new Yorkshire man Dawid Malan. At the age of 32 he's had a frustrating international career for England.
Remarkably for me, he's played more test matches than he has T20's (15 vs 9). But what are his international T20 credentials?
Malan has scored the fastest ever T20 century for an English Batsmen, moving over the century mark off just 48 balls during the fourth T20I against New Zealand in November 2019.
For England he has a 57.25 average, a top score of 103* and a strike rate of 156.31. Basically when he plays he performs. Even Malan has said he's not sure what else he can do:
"One or two games every now and again has been the story of my Twenty20 career with England - it's been very sporadic with the nature of T20s on the international stage usually being short series,"
"With that, I know I need to score runs - and with an average over 57 and a strike rate over 150 in my nine T20Is, I don't know what else I can do to break into the team for the T20 World Cup.
"I don't know how you can be under pressure with numbers like that, even though I know the strength of the competition for places.
Although he has opened 3 times for England in T20 internationals, his best position statistically is #3, a position that I see him filling in the upcoming T20 series against South Africa.
He's appeared in the #3 spot on six occasions for England. He's only averaged 70.60 there with a strikerate of 162.67. Not too shabby at all, but I still don't think he gets the credit he deserves.
Although we need to treat each format on its own merits, I think sometimes we as fans and viewers let the lines blur. We think of Malan and we think of some of his test performances. We think of Bairstow and we think of some of his test performances and we let that blur our view of what they've done in white-ball cricket, before realising and pulling ourselves out.
Eoin Morgan recently said that he'll play his strongest XI against South Africa. I find it hard to believe that a man who averages 57.25 doesn't make it into that team, even if the sample size is smaller than you'd like. It's time we gave Malan the credit he deserves.