Part 1 of a three-part exclusive chat
Positive Covid-19 results in both the South Africa and England camps brought a premature end to England’s much-hyped visit to the country as the ODI series was postponed.
When all was said and done, the tour saw just three T20 internationals played.
And those didn’t go well for the Proteas.
That was thanks in part (a large part) to one man, Dawid Malan.
The South African caught up with the Proteas’ destroyer-in-chief for an exclusive chat, asking him “How a schoolboy from Paarl Boys’ High School ended up playing for England”.
“Cricket has always been in the family, it was my father’s main sport that he played, lived and breathed and so I was always around it growing up. Watching it at home, being coached by him… it was easy to fall in love with a sport that was such a big part of your family life,” Malan said.
Malan, who was born in Roehampton near Putney in London, moved to South Africa with his family as a seven-year-old.
“At Paarl, during my final few years, they actually invested a lot of time and new staff into cricket, giving you so many more opportunities to play games and train at a better level which really helped my development at that age.”
Following his matriculation, Malan, now 33, packed his bags and spent a gap year playing cricket – and plundering runs – in England.
“I came over to England at the age of 19 during a gap year and played club cricket for Peterborough and Oundle.
“An opportunity to play for MCC young cricketers arose, who are based at Lord’s and I did fairly well in games against other county 2nd XI teams.
“Middlesex, being next door, took notice of me and offered me a contract. I managed to score almost 1 000 runs for the 2nd XI the following year, which was the highest total in the league, and then made my first-class debut in 2008 for the 1st XI, hitting 132 not out.”
LOTS OF HARD WORK IN TRAINING
Malan, who bats left-handed but bowls right-arm leg-breaks, moved from Middlesex to Yorkshire ahead of the current season.
“Since that day it’s been lots and lots of hard work in training and sacrifice to try and perform to the best of my ability on the field. All you can do is hit runs wherever you are and hope that one day England will take a look at you which, thankfully, they did,” Malan added.
In the three T20s against the Proteas, Malan scored 19 (at Newlands), 55 (in Paarl) and 99* (at Newlands) at an average of 86.5 to help England to a 3-0 series whitewash.
He was predictably named man of the series for his efforts.
Following his knock at Newlands in the final match (off just 47 balls), Malan attained the highest ever rating in the shortest format of the game and sits comfortably at No 1 in the ICC T20 standings.
To date, Malan has played 15 Tests, one ODI and 19 T20Is for his adopted country.
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In Thursday’s Part 2, Dawid Malan talks about the future of Test cricket – and who he’ll be supporting in next year’s British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.