England batsman Dawid Malan knows he needs to grasp his chance in the Twenty20 international series in New Zealand after “feeding off scraps” in recent years.
England’s decision to rest a number of their 50-over World Cup winners from the ongoing five-match series has given Yorkshire’s new signing and other fringe players a rare opportunity ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup.
Malan has opened the batting in the first two games in Christchurch and Wellington, where he caught the eye with a mighty pull which flew out of the Westpac Stadium for an enormous six.
But he was unable to capitalise on his start, dismissed for 39 from 29 balls and one of several batsmen to hole out in England’s 21-run defeat as New Zealand squared the series.
With the likes of Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes to return – and burgeoning opener Tom Banton waiting in the wings for a debut – Malan is aware he needs something tangible to remain in the selectors’ thoughts.
“Myself, James Vince and Sam Billings have been around the squad for four years, feeding off the scraps for the odd opportunity here and there,” said Malan, who has made only eight limited-overs appearances for England.
“So for us it’s a massive opportunity to put in some match-winning performances and win some games for England. The three of us – Bants is in the background as well – all know there are so many good players ahead of us.
“But I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be part of England for the foreseeable future.
“It’s just making sure I take the opportunity when I get it. They’ve been far and few between. It’s just making sure you capitalise on those chances.”
Before this series Malan, who revealed he will play in Nelson on Tuesday, had not featured in a T20 for England in more than 18 months, despite impressing with four half-centuries in his first five innings.
However, he remains one of the best batsmen on the domestic circuit in the sprint format, amassing 490 runs at an average of 40.83 and a strike-rate of 147.59 in the Vitality Blast this year.
He added: “I did everything I could to be part of the squad, but unfortunately it didn’t work out because of the players they’ve got above you.
“But the good thing is that I scored runs in domestic cricket and stayed in that pecking order, and that’s why I’m getting the opportunity here, and now it’s up to me to take this chance.
Dawid Malan struck four fifties in his first four T20 internationals (Jason O’Brien/PA)”If after these goes I get given here, if I don’t take this opportunity then I’ve only got myself to blame.”
Malan has not given up on adding to his 15 Test caps, the last of which came against India in August last year, pointing out that Joe Root’s side is more unsettled than the limited-overs teams.
He added: “There’s no-one really nailed down apart from Rooty and Stokesy and Rory Burns who played exceptionally well in the Ashes.
“I just need to score as many runs in domestic cricket as I can for England, and if I get selected, I get selected.”