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T20 World Cup 2021

Rob Key: I would leave Dawid Malan out for England’s T20 World Cup opener

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Rob Key has said that he would leave David Malan out of the England team for their opening game of the T20 World Cup against defending champions West Indies.

Malan is the No.1 ranked T20I batter in the world but his propensity to start slowly and recent loss of form has seen him come under increased scrutiny. Speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, Key, a former England opener turned pundit, explained why he was against Malan’s inclusion.

“I would leave out Malan personally,” he said. “The ball isn’t going to come on, the powerplay is going to be vital and you can’t, in this competition, in this country, have a batsman who is slow and have someone who is going to catch up, which is what Malan will do most of the time.


“In the IPL that they’ve just had, the powerplays were the most successful in the history of the IPL, the highest-scoring, and that shows how important it is, and I’d be very wary having Malan in there eating up balls on occasion and leaving too much for the hitters at the end to do.”

Nasser Hussain suggested that Malan should start England’s campaign at first-drop, but pointed out that there were other options waiting in the wings should the No.3’s struggles continue.

“As far as the powerplay goes, I agree with Rob, he’s spot on,” he said. “In the recent edition of the IPL, 23 out of the 30 wins came from the side who scored more runs in the powerplay. It is absolutely vital you use that set of overs to get ahead before pace comes on, before the pitches die. The one area I would disagree on is that I think that David Malan has earned the right to be given first dibs at the role. When you’re No.1 and the stats tell you how good you’ve been, you’ve earned that right to be the first person to start off and if you don’t do it and you don’t use the powerplay then you’ve got other options. I think Moeen Ali is undervalued and underused in white ball cricket in England.”

The other hot topic of debate over England’s XI regards the captain himself, with Eoin Morgan’s form also called into question. However, all of those on the podcast agreed that Morgan would be integral to England’s campaign.

“Eoin Morgan plays,” Hussain said. “He captains even if he isn’t getting runs.”

“I think Morgan would leave himself out if he felt that was the right thing to do,” said Key. “I just don’t think that he will.”

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