Dawid Malan currently averages 48.71 with a strike-rate of 146.66 in 16 matches
Dawid Malan is not taking his international place for granted despite arriving in South Africa for England’s Twenty20 series ranked the No 1 T20 batsman in the world.
After consistent performances against Pakistan and then topping the run-scoring charts in England’s series with Australia in September, Malan jumped four places to the top of the pile in the rankings. He currently averages 48.71 with a strike-rate of 146.66 in 16 matches, and has seven fifties and a century to his name. But staying as No 1 is not his main aim.
"It is not something I am really looking at right now," Malan said from Cape Town, England’s base for the start of the tour. "It doesn’t guarantee runs, it doesn’t guarantee you a spot in the team.
"It’s something that, the day I retire, I will look back on it with fond memories. But the higher your rankings in anything, the more you are looked to and the more pressure that is on you. That’s something I am trying to not let affect me by not worrying where I am in terms of one, or twenty or one hundred in the world."
Malan said that the second T20I in Paarl – where he grew up and made his first-class debut – would feel like "going home". But despite a fine summer for England in the T20 series with Pakistan and Australia, Malan is not sure he will play in the first game with South Africa next Friday. England have an abundance of options to bat in the top three, including Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. Ben Stokes also enjoyed success opening in the recent Indian Premier League.
"I have no idea," Malan said. "I’d like to say I am but I have no idea. That’s a question for the selectors, the coaches and Eoin Morgan. I’d like to but I’ll leave that to them to make that decision.
"One thing Eoin always talks about is, ‘keep pushing the boundaries’. That drives this team and it drives the fact that everyone has to perform when they get their opportunities.
"I think everyone has to work to play for England, I don’t think it’s ever just given on a plate. If you look at the limited opportunities I’ve had since I was in the first Twenty20 squad in 2016, I’ve only played 16 games. You obviously look back and think you probably didn’t get as much of a run but that’s understandable because of the quality of players England have had – they won a World Cup and been absolutely fantastic. The opportunities you get are like gold and you have to capitalise on those opportunities every time to be able to stay in the squad."
Malan also welcomed news of England’s T20 tour of Pakistan next year, which will be their first visit to the country since 2005. Malan has enjoyed his time playing in Pakistan in the Pakistan Super League.
"The Pakistan government and cricket board have done everything in their power in the times that I’ve been there to make it as safe as possible," he said. "The security details and protocols that you have to go through are unbelievable. You don’t feel unsafe in Pakistan when you’re part of the protocols they’re putting in place with all the armoured vehicles. As long as the standard of that stays the same I can’t see too much happening. They’ve been fantastic in the past so hopefully that continues."