Former England captain and BBC pundit Michael Vaughan would leave Dawid Malan, the world’s No.1 T20I batsman, out of the England XI for the T20 World Cup.
The 2005 Ashes-winning skipper was asked to name his preferred team during the BBC’s coverage of the second England-Pakistan T20I, and there was no room for the batsman with the highest ICC rankings peak of all time in the format. His top six consisted of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan and Liam Livingstone.
“So at the moment you haven’t made a space for the number one batter in the world. No space for Dawid Malan?” he was asked by co-commentator Ebony Rainford-Brent.
“No, he misses out,” Vaughan confirmed.
Malan’s position has been the subject of much debate, with his remarkable consistency at the beginning of his international career giving him a set of statistics that should, in some eyes, broker little reproach. He averages 43.68 and strikes at 141.27 after 29 games in T20I cricket. Only two players, Babar Azam and Virat Kohli, average more with a cut-off of 1,000 runs in the format.
However, Malan’s record in domestic cricket is not as good as it is for England, leading some to suggest that a reversion to the mean is inevitable at some point. He has struggled for form in 2021, averaging 26.33 and striking at 117.33, and his preferred method of getting set and then kicking on is one that his detractors say hurts England if he gets out before accelerating. His purported weakness against spin bowling is also held against him given the location of the next T20 World Cup, which will take place in Oman and the UAE.
Liam Livingstone’s record-breaking century in the first T20I, pushing Malan into second place on the list of England’s fastest hundreds in the format, and another explosive cameo in the second T20I has led to suggestions he should take Malan’s place permanently, a school of thought Vaughan apparently subscribes to.
The other significant surprise in Vaughan’s side was the exclusion of Chris Jordan, who has played all but two of England’s T20Is since the start of 2016. All-rounder Chris Woakes, one of England’s greatest ever in ODI cricket, has recently come back into the fold, and it was he who Vaughan preferred. He selected Moeen Ali at No.7, Sam Curran at No.8, Woakes at No.9, Adil Rashid at No.10, with Jofra Archer carded at No.11.
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