Dawid Malan targets Test recall after leaving Middlesex for Yorkshire
Dawid Malan hopes his move to Yorkshire can lead to a Test recall after a final summer at Middlesex spent “banging my head against a wall” amid an apparent breakdown in communications with the club’s coach, Stuart Law.
The 32-year-old, a member of England’s T20 squad in New Zealand, had two seasons left on his contract at Lord’s but was given permission to take up a four-year deal at Headingley without any compensation being sought.
The catalyst for his switch came midway through a campaign in which Middlesex missed out on promotion, with the combination of Malan, in his second season as the captain, and Law, in his first as coach, not working out.
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“I just needed a fresh challenge,” Malan said. “I’ve been captain for two years and I’ve been banging my head against a wall for a wee while. I didn’t really enjoy the cricket as much as I’d have liked to.”
Asked to elaborate, Malan replied: “The new coach has come in and you want the club to move in the right direction. [But] I didn’t really know what was going on and what the plans were and so on, and that frustrated me.”
Malan discovered the Australian’s vision in fact matched his own but only after resolving to leave and there appear to be few hard feelings after praising the “fantastic” staff who looked after him “like a family” during 13 years at the club.
The left-hander, who was part of the 2016 title-winning team and averaged 47 in Division Two last summer, represents a strong signing by Yorkshire, who in their official release spoke of an over-reliance on on the runs of Gary Ballance.
Malan said: “Yorkshire, when I spoke to them, seemed like a team that really want to win trophies. I don’t want to finish my career just plodding along in county cricket. The grass might not be greener. I might not score more runs but at least I’m going to challenge myself to still work hard and be better than I was.”
While still involved in England’s limited overs set-up and desperate to be in next year’s T20 World Cup squad despite knowing many rested senior players will return, Malan won the last of his 15 Test caps in 2018 and was again overlooked for the second leg of this New Zealand tour.
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Ed Smith, the national selector, said on dropping Malan that “it may be his game is better suited to overseas conditions”. But the player, who struck a maiden Test century in Perth during the 2017-18 Ashes series yet averaged 27.8 overall, is not giving up.
Malan said: “What Ed said wasn’t ideal but he’s clarified it to me – my Test record in England isn’t as good as it should be, which is my own fault and no one else’s. But that doesn’t mean I can’t play Test cricket again. It’s up to me to score runs for Yorkshire and keep my name in the hat.
“Jonny Bairstow has been left out [of the Test squad for New Zealand] and there are a few other guys pushing for spots. But there’s no one really nailed down apart from Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Rory Burns, who played exceptionally well in the Ashes.
“You never want other people to do badly but if opportunities arise you want to be scoring runs in domestic cricket. That’s all I want to do.”