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"Push Dawid Malan to open, bring Joe Root back" - Michael Vaughan suggests solution for England's middle-order woes in T20Is

Joe Root (left) and Dawid Malan
Joe Root (left) and Dawid Malan
Modified 21 Mar 2021

Michael Vaughan has offered a rather offbeat suggestion to help England solve their middle-order woes in T20Is. Vaughan thinks Dawid Malan's promotion to the top of the order and the return of Test skipper Joe Root to the T20 fold could be a quick fix ahead of the World Cup.

After their 3-2 series defeat, England captain Eoin Morgan pointed out the paltry returns from their middle order were disconcerting. Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow all under-performed as the over-reliance on the top order hurt the visitors big time.

Writing in his column for, Michael Vaughan observed that the surfeit of left-handers in the middle order is a worry for England. He also suggested shunting Jonny Bairstow further down the order as another solution to address the visitors' middle-order woes.

"Somehow England have to find a way to pick a right-hander at six or seven. There are options. Dawid Malan is an excellent, consistent T20 batsman. He could move from no. 3 to open, with Sam Billings coming in the side lower down to be that finisher. Another option is Jonny Bairstow moving further down to give England that right-hander. Jos Buttler has been excellent opening the batting, but it does deny England their best right-handed finisher, so they have to find someone else," said Michael Vaughan.

David Malan, the no. 1 batsman in the ICC's T20I rankings, has made the England no. 3 spot his own in the last few months. But in the recently-concluded series, the left-hander fired only once, scoring 68 off 48 balls in the series-decider. In the first four games of the series, Malan returned a dismal tally of 80 runs at an average of 26.6.

"I look at the way Virat played today, and it reminded me of Root" - Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan further said that Virat Kohli's sparkling unbeaten 80 in the fifth T20I in Ahmedabad reminded him of Joe Root.


The former England captain feels Root, who possesses a similar ability to anchor the innings, could have been a handy option, as he is also an off-spin option.

"One problem England have is not one of their top order bowls - Roy, Malan, Bairstow or Morgan, and it is difficult to solve that. It used to be handy having Joe Root’s off-spin. I look at the way Virat played today, and it reminded me of Root. He could still make a perfect T20 player who offers more than one skill," said Michael Vaughan.

England's highest run-scorer in the 2016 T20 World Cup, Joe Root, last played a T20I game in May 2019. He has been out of England's T20 team since then.

However, Eoin Morgan, England's T20I captain, has time and again clarified that the door is not completely closed for the 30-year-old. Now with the middle order's failure coupled with the English batsmen's inability to push the paddle against spinners, Joe Root might make a T20I comeback.

Published 21 Mar 2021, 23:15 IST
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