Record-breaker Dawid Malan is in captain Eoin Morgan's bad books over his failure to run on last ball of innings
Eoin Morgan has fired an unexpected shot across the bows of Dawid Malan – despite his former Middlesex team-mate's record-breaking performance in Napier on Friday.
Malan blasted a 48-ball hundred as England squared the Twenty20 series against New Zealand ahead of Saturday night's decider in Auckland.
But Morgan took issue with his decision not to attempt a bye off the last ball of the innings after Sam Billings had failed to connect with a bouncer from Tim Southee.
England skipper Eoin Morgan has fired an unexpected shot across the bows of Dawid Malan
Asked if the decisive manner of England's 76-run victory made him think the 20-over side could develop the same vibe that helped the one-day team lift the World Cup, Morgan replied: 'It's too early to say. I think giving guys that common goal and watching them strive towards it is the biggest indicator.
'If we get guys that are not running off the last ball of the game because they want to get a not out, there's something to address.'
Malan, who chose not to run to the danger end with the ball in possession of New Zealand wicketkeeper Tim Seifert, finished undefeated on 103 off 51 deliveries – only England's second century in the format.
From a captain who chooses his words carefully, weighing up every pronouncement for its potential impact, Morgan's comment was an unmistakable dig at a player who recently upset Middlesex by explaining that he had decided to join Yorkshire because he didn't want to finish his career 'plodding along in county cricket'.
Morgan took issue with Malan's decision not to go for a bye on the last ball of the innings
In nine appearances spread across two and a half years, Malan has built up an enviable T20 record, passing 50 in six of his nine innings, and scoring 458 runs at an average of 57 with a strike-rate of 156. Despite missing 10 of England's matches since his debut, his haul of 20 sixes has been bettered in that time only by Morgan's 25. And only Jason Roy among the regular batsmen has a higher strike-rate.
But with all roads now leading to next year's T20 World Cup in Australia, Morgan is alert to the one-percenters that helped his 50-side triumph at Lord's in July. In his view, protecting your average, which is effectively the accusation he levelled against Malan, is a cardinal sin.
But Morgan also praised Malan's hitting after their England-record partnership of 182 in 12.2 overs was the meat in a total of 241 for three, another national best.
Malan blasted a 48-ball hundred as England squared the Twenty20 series against New Zealand
'When the others see guys coming in and doing that, it raises the expectation for the ones who are here for a short period of time,' he said. 'That shifts the standard for everyone. It really does create huge strength and depth within our squad, and that's what we set out to do on this tour.
'He's played really well and probably the most impressive thing that got him on the tour was his first four or five T20s and the fact he previously scored runs in New Zealand and Australia, where the World Cup is being played.'
Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has admitted it will be 'tough' to readjust to the demands of Test cricket after undergoing rehab on his injured hip. Williamson sat out the T20 series in order to get fit in time for the first Test at Mount Maunganui, starting on November 21.