Yorkshire’s Dawid Malan is relishing his first taste of Big Bash cricket this winter, confident it can push his batting on even further.
Malan was this summer installed as the world’s number one T20 batsman in the ICC’s rankings.
The left-hander describes it as a “nice tag to have” ahead of his spell with Hobart Hurricanes either side of Christmas, but admits he has pushed it very much to the back of his mind as he bids to continue his progression.
Malan, 33, last month finished an encouraging first season in White Rose colours, scoring 368 runs in seven four-day and T20 appearances at an average of 40.88.
The highlight was a maiden career double century – 219 – in the four-day Bob Willis Trophy draw against Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley.
England’s Malan has also spoken of his confidence in Yorkshire’s ability to claim four-day silverware in 2021.
But, first of all, he spoke of his winter plans.
“I’m over the moon to have signed (for Hobart),” he said. “The Big Bash is one of the best tournaments in the world. With all the players that play in it, it’s an exciting watch.
“The ones I’ve spoken to say it’s unbelievable to play in, so for me to get that opportunity is fantastic.”
Given the situation we are currently living in worldwide, there is still plenty to sort. The BBL fixtures have yet to be released, while Malan is likely to be selected to tour South Africa with England from November 27 to December 6.
“I’m not sure how going to Australia from there would work if I’m on that tour with quarantine rules and things like that,” he said. “Also, I don’t think it’s been fully decided yet whether we’d be in bubbles in one state or different ones in Australia. We’ll have to see.”
Malan is the first overseas player to sign on with a Hurricanes side who were beaten finalists in 2017/18 and have reached the knockout stages in each of their last two campaigns.
“They’ve got a really well balanced team,” he continued.
“Matthew Wade has been one of the best players in the competition over the last few years. Hopefully he will be available for a decent amount of games to add that extra bit of power and experience to the team.
“They then have the option of another two overseas players. So, if we can perform to our best, I’m sure we can go one step further.
“We could have a top three of Wade, D’Arcy Short and myself with Peter Handscomb and Ben McDermott as well. That’s very strong on paper. But we have to perform.
“It’s already a very strong competition, but add three overseas and the potential of the Australian internationals being available, it strengthens it further, which is what you want.
“From a personal point of view, that’s very beneficial for your own development, whether you score runs or not. You never stop learning in this game.”
With the signing announcement last week came the obvious fanfare that goes with capturing the best T20 batsman on the planet at present.
Malan, however, refuses to look too deeply into such tags, explaining: “If I start trying to play to that, it can only go one way, which is down.
“You enjoy it when you first get told about it and see the rankings, but after that you have to put it to the back of your mind because it doesn’t guarantee you runs. You still have to work as hard as ever to keep yourself in that kind of form.
“Hopefully I can keep being as consistent as I am at the moment.
“Then, at the end of your career, you can say, ‘What an achievement it was to get there’.
“When you have that ranking next to your name, people expect more from you. But I’m just trying to watch the ball and hit the ball and not pay too much attention to it.”