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Dawid Malan, an England centurion, defies’strange narratives’ by writing his own script.

Dawid Malan, an England centurion, defies’strange narratives’ by writing his own script.

Dawid Malan’s England career has seemed to be accompanied by constant debate over his merits for a place in the team, but the left-hander did what he does best against Bangladesh on Tuesday, scoring big runs to write another successful chapter in his career.

Malan struck a brilliant century at the top of the order to set up a crushing England win over Bangladesh in Dharamsala, a result that gets points on the board for the defending champions after a disappointing showing first-time out against New Zealand.

His match-defining 140 came from 107 balls and included 21 boundaries, including five maximums, cementing Malan’s spot at the top of the order alongside Jonny Bairstow and helping to quiet the stories that his inclusion contributed to Jason Roy’s non-selection for this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

It’s not the first time Malan’s place in the England squad has been called into question.

Malan was a much-debated presence in England’s T20 set-up in recent years due to occasional slow starts despite a high average. During the team’s path to winning the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup last year, pundits and fans called for him to be dropped.

While the slow strike-rate criticisms leveled at Malan’s role in the T20 side had some merit, his ODI record should be unblemished.

Malan came into the side during the previous cycle as England rested a number of their Test stars from the format, and he now averages a world-class 63.15 after 23

ODIs.”I feel like every series I’m under pressure, so for me to keep silencing people is all I can do,” Malan said after winning Player of the Match against Bangladesh.

“You know, if I can score as many runs as I can and contribute to wins, maybe people’s opinions will change.”

“There’s been a lot of strange narratives around over the last couple of years, but yeah, the majority of my cricket played for England has been T20 cricket and I’ve always said, I can play it like a T20 game if you want me to and just ask me to do what you need me to do and I’ll do it.”

The quality of the England squad that continued beyond their 2019 triumph meant that breaking into a stacked squad was always going to be difficult, and Malan said that the competition for places, combined with the disappointment of missing out on the 2022 T20 World Cup final due to injury, has inspired him to seize every opportunity.

“I’ve wanted to be a part of this team for so long, but it’s been impossible to break in with such talented players.” So, all I try to do is get your opportunity and try to take it and, you know, enjoy it for as long as it lasts,” he added.

“I don’t think I was in the running in 2019, despite having played the warm-up game at Malahide.” But, yes, missing out on the World Cup last year was one of the worst things ever, but winning it was fantastic. Hopefully, I can stay fit for this one and we can play some good cricket to get us to the end.”

England’s victory moved them up to fifth place in the table, but they still have a long way to go to recover from their early loss to New Zealand and reach the final four.

But having Malan in such form at the top of the order won’t hurt England’s chances of becoming the third team in history to retain the men’s Cricket World Cup trophy, following the West Indies in the 1970s and Australia in the late 1990s and early 2000s (when they won three titles in a row).

 

 

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