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IPL 2021: Dawid Malan admits he would prefer to open for Punjab Kings

How many games will Dawid Malan get this season?
How many games will Dawid Malan get this season?
Wasiq Agha
ANALYST
Modified 07 Apr 2021
News

Dawid Malan has had a say on his ideal batting position ahead of IPL 2021. The No.1 ranked T20 batsman admitted opening is where his heart lies, but claimed he is happy to bat wherever the team wants him to.

The England international was snapped up by Punjab Kings for INR 1.5 crore ahead of IPL 2021. This will be Dawid Malan’s first IPL campaign, and a debate has been stirring on where the batsman should bat if he plays for the Kings.

Dawid Malan spoke to the Hindustan Times ahead of his debut campaign, where he was asked to touch upon his batting position for IPL 2021.

“People often forget that the only time I don’t open the innings is when I play for England. The No. 3 spot was the only spot that was available. I have opened in domestic competitions too. Gradually I have found myself batting at No. 4 and even 5 for England. Not that I prefer to bat there but I am happy to bat at whichever position the team needs me to bat at,” said Malan.

Punjab Kings have one of the best top-orders in the competition, with a quartet of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran. Dawid Malan is likely to start the season as a backup and will compete with Gayle and Pooran for an overseas slot.

He comes into the IPL with a stellar reputation in the shortest format of the game. The 33-year-old averages 50.15 in T20Is, and has backed that up with an impressive strike rate of 144.31.

Dawid Malan didn’t have the best of starts in India, with the batsman scoring just 148 runs across five games during the recent India vs England T20I series.

His strike rate of 120.32 attracted criticism, with Malan slammed for being too conservative while batting at No.3 for England.

When asked how he plans on managing expectations in IPL 2021, Dawid Malan was quick to defend his batting style.

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“People may think you are world No. 1, you can score a century off 40 balls every time you bat, which is not the way the game works. People who criticise don’t really realise T20 cricket is not only about putting your foot down and slogging the ball. There are partnerships, there are ways of building the innings. You have to put your ego aside and play for the team,” explained Malan.

Dawid Malan impressed by Mumbai Indians duo

The star batsman looked back at the T20I series, admitting Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav left him impressed.

“I really enjoyed watching SKY (Suryakumar Yadav) bat. The way he came out in the T20s. And the other leftie Ishan Kishan. Their ball-striking ability was phenomenal, they came out without any fear,” revealed Malan.

Ishan Kishan made a stunning debut for India, with his blistering 56 guiding India to a victory in the second game.

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His Mumbai Indians compatriot Suryakumar Yadav also took to the international stage like a duck to the water, ending the series with a strike rate of 185.41.

Both players have credited the IPL for their success, and Dawid Malan admits the opportunity to face international opposition has helped India’s youngsters.

“Didn’t enjoy them scoring that many runs against us and winning the games. They are examples of how big IPL is in the development of the players. You get to play bowlers like Jofra Archer regularly,” admitted Malan.

Dawid Malan will target a memorable debut campaign with the Punjab Kings. Any games in IPL 2021 will help the England No.3 in his World Cup preparations, with the ICC event just a few months away.

Published 07 Apr 2021, 14:08 IST
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