Dawid Malan is refusing to panic despite admitting that Yorkshire’s start to their Vitality Blast campaign has not been up to scratch with only one win in four games.
The England batter says the Vikings must set their sights on winning a total of seven North Group games out of 14 in order to reach the quarter-finals early next month.
After winning their opener against Worcestershire at Headingley last Thursday, Yorkshire have since tied with Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford and lost back-to-back fixtures at Headingley against Leicestershire and Derbyshire.
“You pretty much need to win seven games to get to the Blast quarter-finals,” assessed the in-form left-hander. “That’s half your games.
“All you need to do is get to the quarter-finals and then play three really good games. A lot of people think you have to win every game to win a tournament, which is just nonsense. You have to peak at the right time.”
Malan was speaking ahead of today’s home clash with Durham at Headingley (6.30pm), when overseas duo Finn Allen and Dominic Drakes will debut.
Yorkshire also requested Harry Brook’s release from England’s Test squad after he was left out of the final XI to face New Zealand at Lord’s today.
“Look, I’m not trying to make an excuse because we haven’t been good enough in these four games,” continued Malan.
“With the team we’ve had on paper, to only walk away with one win, a tie and two losses is not good enough. But we have one win, which means we need six more in 10 games, which is very doable.”
New Zealand top order batter Allen and West Indian left-arm seam bowling all-rounder Drakes will come into the side in place of fellow international duo Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf, who have returned to Pakistan.
Rauf has played his last game of the season for the county, while Khan will return later in the Blast to regain his place from Drakes.
Malan said: “I haven’t come across Dominic Drakes that much. I know of him and have seen him play now and again. But he’s what we need, a bowler. I think that’s evident with all the injuries that we’ve got.
“It’s been quite tough for the guys who are playing. They’re doing all they can, but they haven’t got the experience. This experience is actually doing them really well.
“Finn is a fantastic, explosive batter, which adds to our firepower. He always strikes at 150 or 160 no matter where he bats. To have someone like that who can change a game is fantastic.”
Malan heads into the clash with a Durham side who have won two of four games so far on the back of two scores of 50 in the last two games. They have come as an opening batter alongside Adam Lyth, an elevation in the order this season having previously batted at three for the Vikings in 2020 and 2021.
Opening is, said the 34-year-old, his best and preferred batting position in T20 – though three is where he has had the lion’s share of his international success.
He continued: “For England, I bat three and in some of the tournaments on the sub-continent, where there are a lot of left-arm spinners, I end up dropping down to four and five. But opening in county cricket is where I’ve been most successful.
“The make-up of this team has given me the opportunity to move up the order and do what I do best.”
“When we won the PSL, with Peshawar in 2017, I opened the batting. But when you have guys like Jos, Jonny and J-Roy with England, it’s tough to get up there.
“I actually think my stats opening the batting in county cricket are up there with my stats batting at three for England.”
Ten of Malan’s 12 scores of 50 or more for England in T20 internationals have come batting at three, the other two as an opener.
In his Blast career for Middlesex and Yorkshire, however, he has reached or gone beyond 50 on 19 occasions – 16 of them as an opener.
“I do find it different batting at three to opening,” he added.
“You come in in so many different situations. You could come in second ball one game and then in the 11th over in the next. The way you play is so different from game to game as a number three.
“Opening the batting is so much simpler. You play the same way every time.
“But you have to bat where the team needs you to bat. You have to find ways of batting in different positions. That’s why you play international cricket. You can’t just be a one position wonder.
“I actually think that batting at three and four in some competitions has developed my game a lot more.”