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Dawid Malan -“How well you do is what matters, not how many big bombs you hit,”



Dawid Malan

A penny for Dawid Malan’s thoughts as he stood on the sidelines at the MCG in November and watched as a senior England batter led a World Cup-winning run chase against Pakistan with a calm 52 not out from 49 balls.

Ben Stokes, who is the Red Adair of England’s run chases, was the man in question. After 18 months away from the T20I team, he was flown back in and showed once again that he has the best temperament in big games.

Still, Malan’s name could have been all over that game. With a target of 138 and two wickets lost early on, the new player had every right and reason to take things slowly. This is what you would expect from a former world No. 1 who has played at No. 3 in 44 of his 55 T20Is for England.

On the other hand, Malan didn’t get the best ending. He had to leave the tournament early because he hurt his groin during England’s tense win over Sri Lanka in the group stage. He thought he had done enough to be brought back for the final game against Pakistan, but it wasn’t to be.

At first, we talked about just treating the symptoms, but the day before the World Cup final, I had to get a scan even though I thought I was fine.

“I did the wellness test and all the other things that was requested from me, and I had the option to do everything in a more than two hour meeting with a tiny bit of piece of pounding.

“In any case, when Jos [Buttler] and Motty [Matthew Mott] called me in after the instructional course, they said, ‘Look, despite the fact that you passed everything, there’s as yet a gamble.'”

Malan says that the issue boiled down to the size of the MCG and the gamble of harming his niggle as well as that of Imprint Wood, who was likewise a vital participant yet didn’t play despite the fact that he appeared to have moved past the hip flexor issue that kept him out of the India semi-last.

“In the event that we were playing at a more modest ground like Bangalore, where you can’t depend on running threes and twos and pursuing down balls in the outfield, it would have been worth the gamble,” he says.

“However, playing at the MCG when each run would have included in a World Cup last… as a cricketer, you need to take care of your inner self at times, regardless of whether you’re crushed by the choice. There’s actually no need to focus on putting your own pride in front of the group. The objective is to win the World Cup collectively. Despite the fact that it’s difficult to do, that is the proper thing to do. We won the World Cup since we didn’t gamble with two players who were near being fit. All the other things is history.”

That set of experiences currently shows that Britain are the simultaneous 50-and 20-over World Cup support, the principal men’s group to accomplish such an accomplishment. And keeping in mind that Malan was not engaged with the legendary 2019 mission, he has been an essential individual from the T20 in the middle between whiles, including the side that surrendered in the semi-last in the UAE a year prior to the MCG win – a mission that he expresses accompanied fundamentally more assumption than the one recently gone.

“The failure of losing that semi in 2021 was there so that everybody might see,” he says, reviewing a penultimate-over misfortune to New Zealand in Abu Dhabi. “With what we had accessible collectively, we were destroyed that we didn’t win the World Cup that year, however I surmise assumptions likely weren’t as high this time around. We clearly needed to win, yet I didn’t figure it would be practical.”

Dawid Malan
In the summer, Dawid Malan hits a six over the leg side against South Africa.

There were many things that made her shy. After Eoin Morgan left the team, England had a summer of change. They didn’t win any of the four white-ball series they played at home against India and South Africa, and key players like Jofra Archer and Jonny Bairstow were hurt, so they weren’t the favorites they had been in past ICC tournaments.

Malan says, “We could definitely win if we played our best, but I didn’t think there was as much pressure on us as a team after the summer we had.” ” Australia and India were in better shape than we were.

“But the group has come a long way since Morgs took over in 2015 and Jos and Motty are now in charge. At first, I watched from the outside how they ran their business, but they haven’t changed in seven years. Everyone in the country believed in them, and it’s amazing that they’ve won two World Cups in the last few years.

Still, it seems like Malan would have liked a little more praise for the way he played during England’s last trophy-winning season. Over the three innings of the tournament, he hit 56 runs on 68 balls. This included a slow 35 from 37 balls against Ireland, which helped them lose, and a cameo of 3 not out from one ball against New Zealand, after he was moved down to No.8 to make room for players who were thought to hit harder.

Malan has done some amazing things for England, like scoring 1000 T20I runs in a record 24 matches and scoring a century in 48 balls against New Zealand in 2019. However, he has always had to deal with criticism. Especially the idea that he takes a while to get going.

In Twenty20 Internationals, Malan has made 30 scores of 30 or less, which is less than one run per ball (97.05). Once he gets going, though, few opponents can keep up with him. This is shown by the fact that his strike rate jumps to 165.56 on the 15 times he’s gone past fifty.

Mike Hussey, England’s batting consultant, talked about this point when he gave Malan a cap to mark his 50th appearance at the World Cup. Hussey focused on Malan’s “BASRA,” which is no longer just a port in southern Iraq but also a way to judge a player’s “batting average and strike rate combined.” Malan’s “BASRA” is currently 174.55 (38.84 and 135.71), which is only behind England players Kevin Pietersen and Jos Buttler.

Malan says, “I had never heard of it before.” But hearing praise like that from someone like that gives you a lot of confidence and makes you feel like you can do anything.

“Batting at 3 in T20s is hard,” he says, “because if you want to be positive and go for it in the first over of the game when you’re 0 for 1, and you get out, you’re 10 for 2, and you’re probably not going to score the 180 runs you need to on that wicket.” Then, sometimes you walk in during the last over of a power play or the eighth over with all the fields out, and the match-up is different from what you’re used to.

“When you get to bat first, you can always play the same way. It’s the simplest thing. When you hit third, you have a little bit more to do. Yes, that was sometimes hard for me, but leaders like Morgs and Jos have given me the confidence to play the way I think is best, which is huge for me because then I can ignore the criticism.

“There is always criticism, and sometimes it’s fair and sometimes it’s not, but as players, we’re big enough to admit when we’re wrong. You may feel like you always talk about the same things, but that’s because people are looking at numbers instead of what’s right in front of them.

Malan is still interested in one more number, though. Most of the time, he’s on the team that wins. In fact, he has won 33 of the 55 Twenty20 Internationals he has played in. This makes him the second-best England player with 50 or more caps, behind only Sam Curran, who was the Player of the World Cup Final and the top pick at the IPL auction.

Malan says, “We’re not here to make the highlight reel; we’re here to win cricket games.” ” So many people think that you have to hit the ball 130 meters to get on Instagram. That’s not important. How well your team does is how it is judged. Players are judged by how many games they win, not how many big bombs they hit.

“I’d rather average 20 with a strike rate of 130 and win every game than hit a few good sixes at 160 and do nothing else. That’s not how you win cricket games.”

Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan drive through covers

He will have a lot of chances to get better at what he does in the coming months. Even though Malan took a rare break in December and spent Christmas at home for the first time in five years, he is already back on the road. In the Bangladesh Premier League, he will first play for Comilla Victorians. Later this week, he will join World Cup winners Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore at Sharjah Warriors. Chris Benjamin of Warwickshire will also be there.

Malan says, “We have a group of English guys and a few Afghan guys, so it’s going to be great.” ” It’s great when a franchise has a tournament. But the level of play is so much higher because each team can have so many players from other countries.

“It’s a good time. Since the IPL is putting money into the ILT20, it’s likely to have the most money for players and draw the biggest names. And I think that, in the end, what brings players to different tournaments is not just the type of cricket or the conditions, but also how much they get paid. It looks like a great tournament could happen.”

Malan could have another big year because England will be defending the 50-over World Cup in India in the fall. Even though he has only played in 12 ODIs so far, he seems to be in the right place at the right time. Morgan’s retirement and Stokes’ withdrawal from the format have opened up spots for both new and experienced players. In response, he scored two centuries in his six matches in 2022, including one against Australia in Adelaide that earned him the Player of the Match award. He thinks that his style fits well with what England needs.

“It’s a strange one,” he says. “You’re good enough to play Twenty20 cricket, but not for the 50-over team. But as people have left this group, there have been more chances. I want to be a part of it, so I hope I’ve made the most of my chances in the last few series. I want to play in the 50-over World Cup, and Motty and Jos have given me some good advice on what to do next.

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De Zorzi now has a chance to become the star he has always wanted to be.




De Zorzi

Tony de Zorzi returned to the Wanderers eight years after he was captain of King Edwards VII, one of Johannesburg’s best schools, and seven years after he led South Africa’s Under-19 team to a World Cup where they were the defending champions but finished in 11th place. He found friends he didn’t know he had.

There were a few of my friends here, and it’s always nice to have my mum watching,” de Zorzi said. “Some people said they were my friends, but I’ve never met them.”

Natasha raised de Zorzi on her own, and he has always wanted to be the best he could be for her. She doesn’t watch him play much anymore because he took the long way to become an international cricket player. He went to the same school as Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith, then to Pretoria, and finally to Cape Town, which is 1400 kilometres away from where he grew up. In a way, it was good for de Zorzi to play his first Test match on the Highveld and get his first fifty while Natasha was watching.

He said, “She always sits in the same spot, so I knew where she was.” “Since I’m in Cape Town, she hasn’t been able to watch many games. I hope I can get three figures the next time she comes.”

De Zorzi has set high goals for himself. In the last two years, only one of his teammates has scored a hundred at home, and only two others (Sarel Erwee and Kyle Verreynne, neither of whom is playing in this series) have reached 100. But because he has let people down in the past, he knows this is his chance to step up.

“My life has changed a lot since I played for SA under-19,” de Zorzi said. “I was captain, but I wasn’t the star of that side,” he said.

Because Wiaan Mulder did it. When De Zorzi came back from the World Cup for his age group, he had to go back to club cricket and “start over.” He played for the University of Pretoria team, which was led by Kruger van Wyk, who is now the fielding coach. Then he got a job with Northerns, where he kept getting better and better and averaged almost 80 for the second-tier provincial team in the summer of 2016–17. In the summer of 2020, he moved to Western Province, where Ashwell Prince was the head coach. Since then, he has been made captain.

This summer, he is averaging over 100, mostly because of his unbeaten 304 against the Knights, when Gerald Coetzee was part of his attack (though admittedly not many other big names).

“It’s been a long process, and I’m glad it’s come to this,” said de Zorzi. “It also reminds me of where I came from and to not get too far ahead of myself because I had to do a lot of dirty work to get there. Some guys start getting it a little bit earlier. Mine is starting to come true right now.”

After averaging over 48 in three of the last four seasons, de Zorzi was hard to ignore in this Test squad, but it took a change in leadership for that to happen. He got his chance because the new red-ball coach, Shukri Conrad, also acts as a selector when there isn’t a panel. “We knew it would be a new start when the coaches changed,” de Zorzi said. “If everyone took a chance and did well, you knew there would be a new set of eyes and maybe even more chances. That was a lot of fun. Dean Elgar, who was captain at the time, used to say that the number of runs you scored would get you into the team. Guys knew that they had to have a good season if they wanted to move up. There was nothing else to do.”

De Zorzi
De Zorzi is especially good at the cut shot, which is how he scored almost a third of his runs in this innings.

But now that it has, players like de Zorzi need to take control of their space. He showed West Indies’ attack what he was made of in the first Test, and Kyle Mayers saw it. “This guy seems to have everything together,” he said. “He is square of the wicket and strong.”

De Zorzi is very good at the cut shot. In this innings, he got almost a third of his runs with the cut shot. However, the West Indies had already figured him out from the first Test. At the SuperSport Park, they tried to give him less space. De Zorzi said, “They stick to the basics a little bit longer.” “You might get a few less bad balls, but international cricketers who do their homework are going to do it. I could tell they had different plans based on how they bowled to me today compared to how they did it at SuperSport Park. They can make it harder for you to score. And, of course, the intensity is a little bit higher. When I got out, I was really tired. It is not easy.”

But so was de Zorzi. During the free-flowing afternoon session in South Africa, he played well. Natasha sat still in the Memorial Stand the whole time. De Zorzi made his first sign to her when he hit Alzarri Joseph out of the ground with the 82nd ball he faced. She would have been incredibly proud, no doubt. As the pitch got faster and West Indies made a comeback, De Zorzi faced 73 more balls and scored 35 more runs.

They lost five wickets for 64 runs after tea, so the game is now tied. If South Africa can’t score more than 350, West Indies might be able to fight back. If you give up on that, on a pitch that is already starting to turn, the game might be over. Either way, it’s set up to bring in people who didn’t know they liked cricket, especially during a mid-week Test match when only a small part of the stadium is filled. But it’s important. And de Zorzi knows that better than anyone else.

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The collapse that never came at Hagley Oval involving Sri Lanka




Angelo Mathews

The skies are gray and heavy, like a wet blanket that will soon be thrown over the whole series. The field is so full of plants that animals that live in the woods have moved in. The outfield is wet, and sometimes a cold drizzle falls on biting winds. And while the local bowlers, who are all big and tall, are nimble and strong in their warm-up overs on the practice pitches, the Sri Lankan batters, who are covered in wool sweaters, face throwdowns and look like they are about to be sacrificed on an altar of seam bowling.

Get the coin. Put Sri Lanka in. Watch the ball jump gleefully off the edges of the bats and into the hands of the slip cordon as batter after batter falls like marionettes, the scoreboard showing 45-3, then 67-5, and a few swipes at the end pushing the total just over 100. Here are the usual parts of Sri Lanka’s day one story on a ground like Hagley Oval.

When they were here before, they didn’t have to bat first, but they were still out after 138 runs. The last time, they had players like Kumar Sangakkara on their team, but they still lost by 104 runs. Unless Sri Lanka pulls off a near-miracle in the second innings, which they do from time to time, these are game-changing messes. (Then New Zealand will go up to bat and put on half a million for six while smiling politely, which will only show how bad they were before.)

Then this happened. Four years after the last time they played a Test in New Zealand, where they were beaten by 423 runs at this same site, they had an amazing day of batting. Of defensive play that was mostly okay and technique that was pretty good. Had Sri Lanka’s batters done the work to figure out where their off stump was before they started a Test on foreign soil? Any Sri Lanka fan should feel a tear of pure pride just thinking about it.

Kusal Mendis, who may have been the best player in the XI, took the lead. The most important part of his 87 out of 83 was how he judged length on a surface that was a bit bumpy. When it was on a good length, he defended close to his body, almost always with soft hands, so that when the ball came in and took the edge, it bounced short of the slips. Most of the time, though, he defended inside the line, mostly using his bat to block balls that could hit him in front of the wickets or get past him to the wickets.

When New Zealand’s bowlers bowled fuller and tried hard to get an edge that could be caught, Mendis gave his all to his front-foot strokes, sometimes driving it with authority, other times sending it squirting off the face of the bat through backward point, and other times flicking it deliciously off his pads.

Angelo Mathews
Although Angelo Mathews mainly scored 38 out of his 47 runs through the leg side, his driving down the ground was particularly beautiful to watch.

He got 50 runs off of 40 balls, but New Zealand’s bowlers didn’t have a great morning. 44 of those runs came from fours. He and Dimuth Karunaratne, who was just as steady but less aggressive against balls that could be hit, put together a 137-run partnership at the second wicket that was the key to Sri Lanka’s progress on day one. They would get out in consecutive overs, but when they did, they were often replaced by better batsmen.

Angelo Mathews waited for the shorter balls and scored 38 of his 47 runs through the leg side. He also hit a couple of fours off his pads when the ball was close to him. Dinesh Chandimal liked to hit the ball to the off side, and he did so six times. As Dhananjaya de Silva batted with Kasun Rajitha near the end of the day, he made boundaries whenever he could.

Their scoring areas were different, but almost all of Sri Lanka’s top seven batters covered the stumps, didn’t rush at balls until they were set, didn’t mind when deliveries beat their bats, and didn’t chase seaming balls outside their stumps. Even when bowled at (mostly by Tim Southee and Matt Henry), they didn’t give up, which is something they often do when the ball is turning.

Given Sri Lanka’s long tail and lack of experience in the field, which New Zealand can easily take advantage of, 305 for 6 is not a great first-day score. It is possible that New Zealand will win the match. But given the situation, Sri Lanka were good enough. And it’s not often that you can say that about Sri Lanka on the first day of a match in New Zealand.

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India’s trust is rewarded by Bharat’s skill behind the stumps.




KS Bharat

Sometimes almost everything that makes up a Test match is found in a single ball. One of those balls was the one that knocked Pat Cummins out of the game on the third morning in Delhi. It had the blunt precision of the Indian spinners, the deadly glide that made this pitch so hard to play on, and the sweep, a high-risk, high-reward shot so controversial that a thousand autopsies were written about it.

And there was one more thing. After the ball slipped under Cummins‘ bat, it hit the inside edge of the outside stump, bounced off the side of the middle stump and landed in KS Bharat’s gloves.

The ball didn’t spin sharply, but it didn’t go all the way with the arm either. After it was thrown, it straightened just a little. It also stayed low before bouncing off the stumps twice. Bharat had followed the ball all the way, even as Cummins took a wild swing, and he had collected it cleanly.

It didn’t matter because the ball was dead by the time he reached it, but he did a good job with his glove.

Later that day, when India had lost four wickets and were 27 runs away from their target, Bharat was moved up the order and scored a brilliant unbeaten 23 off 22 balls, including three perfectly timed fours to cover and a solid knock with a slog-swept six.

In his first two Test innings, Bharat had scored 8 and 6 in the first two games of this series. He must have felt much better after that start because he played on Sunday. Some watching from the outside might have even thought he was trying to save his career with that performance.

But India probably wouldn’t have seriously considered taking Bharat out of the game after Delhi, even if he had done nothing in the second innings. They probably know that anyone can score a number of low scores on difficult pitches, and they may have seen glimpses of Bharat’s counter-attacking potential during his brief stint with the Indian national team

In Nagpur, Bharat got rid of Marnus Labuschagne with a sharp stumping.

It took a long time for these things to happen.

In May 2018, Indian senior team officials selected Bharat as the goalkeeper for the four-day tour and Rishabh Pant as the goalkeeper for the 50-over tour. The Indian senior team was also touring England that summer, so the A tour was a shadow tour. At the time, officials felt that Bharat was India’s best pure goalkeeper and Pant was an exciting batsman whose glovework needed work.

When Wriddhiman Saha got injured and could not join the England tour, India included Pant in its Test team in place of Bharat. The genius is going in his own direction.

But Bharat remained an important player in India’s second team. Since the beginning of 2018, he has played 19 first-class matches for the India A team, which is more than any other player except Abhimanyu Easwaran, who bats first. In those India A matches, he has scored 971 runs at a rate of 48.55, including three hundreds.

Last year, when India took Saha out of its test team, Bharat took his place. So it made sense that Bharat made his debut when Pant was injured. The Indian team management may have been tempted by Ishan Kishan’s competing claims, but they chose Bharat at the start of this Border-Gavaskar series.

At the start of the 2019-20 home season, India dropped Pant from the Test programme XI and brought back Saha for a series against South Africa. Virat Kohli described Saha as the best goalkeeper in the world and they felt his good glove work was important on India’s winding tracks. They felt that Pant still needed to work on his goalkeeping. Pant worked on it and became a world-class goalkeeper when India played England in early 2021. Until then, however, Saha was still the first choice for home games.

At the start of this series between India and Australia, the same idea was in play. India appreciates how good Bharat is with the bat, but they know he is their best goalkeeper when Pant is not around.

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