World number three T20 batsman Dawid Malan is now a familiar face in Bangladesh cricket. Alongside being a regular in the BPL T20, playing for Cumilla Warriers in the BBPL this year, the left-handed English batsman has also been part of Dhaka Premier League, the premier 50-over tournament of the country. Minhaz Uddin Khan of Dhaka Tribune reached out Malan to ask about his experience in Bangladesh, thoughts on England winning their maiden ICC Cricket World Cup and his wish to be more of a regular for England, at least in the shortest format of the game.
Although you have played just nine T20Is, you are ranked as the third best batsman in the ICC T20 rankings. Are you happy with the way things going for you?
I can always be happier, as if you think you are satisfied then you are not going to push yourself. I am looking forward and still trying to learn a lot in T20 cricket and adapt my game. The last thing you want to do is what you did five years ago, as the game changes so quickly with the players coming up with new ways to play. So far, I am happy with the record I have, but I obviously want to keep improving and win more matches for my side.
What do you do to be consistent?
I have a game plan, and it took me probably three to four years to work out a game plan which I am comfortable with and suits my game. Then I tried to expand that each year and try to learn couple of new things. Batting is about scoring runs and, as you know, a few people lost the art of scoring runs in T20s. They go out there and just slog no matter if the score is twenty, naught or if it’s fifty. As long as you score runs to help win games for your team, that’s something important to me.
Would you like to feature more regular in the England national team, at least in the shorter format given the experience you have playing franchise cricket all around the world?
Yes, obviously you want to play international cricket and be the number one guy on the team sheet. But you know England have been wonderful in the last three-four years, so it is hard to break into that team. Hopefully, if you keep getting the opportunity and when you score runs eventually you make a spot of your own. That’s the key thing when you try to break into a strong team that is putting up performances. Even if you get one chance, you make sure you score runs. If you don’t score runs you can’t really ask to be a regular player. I strive to play in the England team and want to be a part of the eleven. For that, you have to score a lot of runs not only for England but also in franchise leagues as well.
Are you happy with the pitches here in the BBPL as a batsman?Yes, it’s obviously a massive difference when you come from the UK side. You know the Dhaka wicket sometimes can be challenging, but the ones in Chittagong are really good with high scoring games. At times it turns and has pace, which makes difficult for the batsman, but in general I am pretty happy with the way things have gone so far.
Any young local bowlers that have impressed you?
We played against Rangpur where a young bowler made his debut - Mukidul Islam. He bowled well. He might be very quick here in Bangladesh, but when you compare him with someone like Wahab Riaz, who is quicker than him, it’s a different story and he is going to learn pretty quickly that he is not the quickest among the lot. But he was pretty impressive to set up his overs, and it is always a good sign for the guys who are thinking. I think the left arm seamer from Chattogram, Mehedi Hasan, has also found a good length on this wicket. He doesn’t really bowl yorkers and bowls death overs and also takes the new ball, and is doing well for the team.
With pitches favouring the batters, how do you face such bowlers?
That is probably the biggest mindset change that I had to do. When you pay county cricket, usually you get across two or three good bowlers and two or three bowlers whom you can target. So you are used to seeing off the better bowlers and attacking the bowlers who are not good. But in international cricket, you have to take down the best bowlers. It is part of my thing, trying to attack the best bowlers no matter what the run rate and situation is, but obviously the situation dictates when you cannot take the risk.
Christmas is approaching, how difficult is it for you as a player staying away from family and home on such occasions?
It is tough as it is a big occasion and family-oriented day for the westerners. It is extremely tough for us to stay away from the family, and if you look at the schedule where do you have four days gap but you have nothing to do? Hopefully, in future, if there is something like that and if we can meet our family somewhere in the middle, it would be great. We know we are going to be away when we sign for playing away, and we know we will be away on such special days. But, hopefully, when you finish your career, you have a lot of more special days which you will be able to spend with your family.
Do you think England winning the World Cup will be a huge boost for the cricket if entire nation?
You want to be the number one ranked side in all formats. I think the World Cup win and what the boys achieved was unbelievable. Four years in the planning, four years of sticking together, backing each other, facing a lot of grief from the media after the way they played last time. But still, they stuck to the game plan and strategies from Eion Morgan and Trevor Bayliss, and that was the key thing for that World Cup win. If you look at what it has done for cricket in England, hopefully the younger generation would want to be Ben Stokes, Eion Morgan or Butler in future.
Where do you want to see yourself as a batsman after the BPL?
Well obviously, I want to be the highest run scorer. Obviously, it is a different role whenever I come to Bangladesh. I seem to bat at four, five or six, which I still can’t figure out. I open the batting in England and I signed here in Bangladesh where I bat at four, five or six. That’s part of these competitions, where you play different roles and learn different skills. Whether I open the batting or not, if I score runs and win matches then that’s the thing I will take it from here.