England batsman Dawid Malan has settled into Yorkshire life well, despite the obvious early summer challenges, says his new coach Andrew Gale.
The ex-Middlesex captain is finally due to make his White Rose bow tomorrow, in the two-day friendly against Durham at Emerald Headingley, nearly nine months after signing his four-year deal.
Coach Gale has had more contact time with England’s T20 star given he started individual training at Headingley in early June as part of the extended national 55-man squad selected to prepare for any possible call-ups.
The left-hander suffered a calf injury – two separate tears – which put his preparations back, meaning he did not play against Lancashire on Friday and yesterday, but he has been training with his new Yorkshire team-mates and is now ready to go.
“It was great for me to be able to spend some time with Dawid when he came back to training early,” said Gale, who is likely to slot the 32-year-old in at number three in his four-day batting order.
“We had a two or three-week block of just one-to-ones with me and him before the other lads came back.
“I got to know him and his game, what he’s about and what makes him tick.
“It was a nice phased return for him. He wasn’t straight back in in a full group. He’s been in with smaller groups and has got to know the lads individually.
“He’s settled in really well and seems to be enjoying it.
“Having watched him bat, you can see what a good player he is.
“It will be great to see him pull on a Yorkshire shirt.”
While Malan will play against Durham, another left-hander in Gary Ballance won’t.
He has been suffering from illness – he has had two negative Covid-19 tests – and is not 100 percent fit yet.
He is, therefore, a doubt to face Durham in Saturday’s Bob Willis Trophy opener against the same opponents at Emirates Riverside. Tom Loten and Will Fraine are contenders to deputise.
Duanne Olivier also definitely won’t play in the friendly, instead returning to action in an intra-squad game at Weetwood later in the week. Saturday could also come too soon for him.
Whereas Gale featured 12 players against Lancashire, he will use more players over the next couple of days in order to spread the workload.
Josh Poysden will get his chance to stake a claim for selection, with Gale confirming that he will be playing a spinner in the opening four-day at the Riverside.
With James Logan injured, selection will be between off-spinner Jack Shutt and leg-spinner Poysden.
Durham will almost certainly include former White Rose batsman and limited overs captain Alex Lees in their line-up.
This is Durham’s only scheduled friendly before the start of the competitive action. They finished fifth in the County Championship Division Two last season, winning five of their 14 games.