Currently, Dawid Malan is the top-ranked T20I batsman in world cricket. With a rating of 915 to his name, the 33-year-old is 95 points ahead of second-ranked Babar Azar. Despite being a leading player in limited-overs formats, Malan hasn’t been shy in voicing his desire to return to the Test side. On form, the Roehampton-born left-hander is a match-winning batsman, but he’s often found opportunities hard to come by regarding Test cricket. In turn, that raises the following question; can he fight his way back into the red-ball team?
Still Wanting to Play Red-Ball Cricket
After a successful spell throughout 2020 in limited-overs cricket, Malan enhanced his reputation as a power-scoring batsman. Although he himself admits that wouldn’t push England concerning a spot in the Test team, he has focused on four-day formats in an effort to boost his selection chances. The six-foot top-order batsman is no stranger to Test cricket, although his last red-ball outing came back in August 2018.
Although England won the series against Virat Kohli’s team, Malan didn’t have the best outing on an individual level. In the five-Test event, the 33-year-old only featured in the first match. Malan batted from fourth in the order, behind Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, and Joe Root.
In the first innings, Malan hit just eight runs off 14 balls before being dismissed by Mohammed Shami. His next outing, however, wasn’t much more convincing. Before being caught by Ajinkya Rahane following a delivery from Ishant Sharma, the London-born batsman hit a knock of 20 from 64 balls. Although the hosts won the series, Malan has yet to return to the Test team.
His Test Record Shows Signs of Promise
Although he’s the world’s top-ranked T20I batsman, Malan has previously admitted that his preferred format is One Day Internationals (ODIs). Throughout his 15 Test appearances, the 33-year-old has struggled to replicate his limited-overs form, which may be why a regular long-term spot has long eluded him.
During his Test career, Malan’s scored 724 runs in 26 innings. In that time, he’s recorded a high score of 140, which came against Australia in December 2017. Batting from five, he hit 19 fours and one six en route to achieving a 61.67 strike rate. Outside of this, however, his free-scoring style hasn’t transitioned from T20s. At the time of writing, his average sits at 27.84, which is lower than current top and middle-order players, like Ollie Pope, Rory Burns, and Zak Crawley.
Despite his struggles, he still dreams of playing more Test cricket, which he describes as the sport’s pinnacle. Not only that, but he also has aspirations of playing for England in the upcoming 2020-21 Ashes series in Australia. His inclusion would be a brave call by England’s selectors, especially given his existing Test average. That said, as of February 5th, Australia are the favourites to win the event, being priced at 8/15 in cricket betting to retain the Ashes. As such, thinking outside the box regarding selection may provide the key to success, and those making the decisions shouldn’t be quick to disregard Malan.
Playing for his Test Future
Few can argue that Malan isn’t playing some of the finest cricket of his career at present. While nothing is impossible in sport, the 33-year-old faces a considerable challenge to turn his Test dream into a reality. On his day, few are better, but, thus far, his day hasn’t come often enough in red-ball cricket. As such, an imminent return appears unlikely.