Malan on top of the world ahead of BBL stint
English left-hander still adjusting to being ranked on top of the ICC's T20 rankings ahead of his stint with the Hobart Hurricanes
3 November 2020, 11:30 AM AEST
Hobart Hurricanes recruit Dawid Malan concedes being ranked the No.1 batter in the world adds an extra layer of pressure at a time when he's only just established himself in England's first-choice T20 side.
Malan was last month unveiled as Hobart's first international signing for BBL|10, the left-hander signing on for his first BBL stint and first trip to Australia since the 2017-18 Ashes, when he scored a memorable hundred at the WACA Ground.
Having been approached to join the Hurricanes at the end of last season as a replacement for South African David Miller (both men were ruled out of the final stages of the BBL due to a T20 series between their two countries), Malan is set to bat at No.3 for the Hurricanes this season, although he could be elevated to open the batting if one or both of Matthew Wade and D’Arcy Short are unavailable.
It comes after a golden 12 months for Malan in the shortest form of the game, which included an unbeaten century against New Zealand – just the second by an English male in T20 internationals – and a rapid rise to the top of the International Cricket Council's batting rankings.
The 33-year-old has played in England's past seven T20s, the longest stint he's enjoyed in the side, alongside World Cup heroes like Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow.
And he says he's learning to handle the expectation that comes with the top ranking.
"I try not to notice those sorts of things," he told cricket.com.au.
"It's obviously a great honour to be ranked No.1, but that's all it is – it's just something on a piece of paper. Your job as a cricketer is to score runs, whether you're No.1 or No.100.
"And when you're signed as an overseas player and have played for England, it's about scoring runs at every opportunity.
"I try my best to keep it out of my head, but with that will come extra pressure if you're selected for England ... the pressure is then on you to play like the No.1 player in the world and be as consistent as the No.1 player.
"It does come with different pressures, but it's just about how you handle it and that’s the challenge for me."
Malan will join Afghan pair Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi in the BBL this season, who are the top-ranked bowler and allrounder in the world respectively.
The Englishman has earned the top batting ranking thanks to an average approaching 50 and a strike rate of 147, putting him ahead of Pakistan ace Babar Azam and Australian skipper Aaron Finch.
Having played just 16 games for England since his debut in 2017, Malan is flattered by the ranking but believes it’s too early to compare him to the global titans of T20 cricket.
"I don't think so yet," he said. "These guys have all played 50, 60 up to 100 games for their country, I’ve only played a handful.
"If I play 30 or 40 games over an extended period, maybe you can start comparing. But the challenge is to be able to play another 10 or 20 games the way I have been playing. I think only then can you start making any sort of judgement on different players."
Malan is set to miss the early stages of the BBL due to quarantine requirements in Australia following England’s tour of South Africa that runs from November 27 to December 9, with the BBL expected to start the following day.
He is one of six Englishmen already signed on for this season, joining Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Tom Curran, Tom Banton and Alex Hales while Bairstow (Melbourne Stars), Sam Billings (Sydney Thunder) and Phil Salt (Adelaide Strikers) have also been linked to a BBL stint this summer.