“There aren’t many experienced batters with 10,000 first-class runs about. They don’t fall off trees,” said Yorkshire Andrew Gale only last month when talking about player availability ahead of the 2020 county season.
In Dawid Malan, however, the White Rose have found one. And you may well say that he’s fallen from the top branch.
Yorkshire have secured the services of the England fringe left-hander following his departure from Middlesex, where he has been captain in all forms for the past two seasons.
A player with 21 international caps across all formats, including 15 Test Match appearances in 2017 and 2018, Malan has posted 11,229 first-class runs from 188 matches to date since debuting in February 2006 back in South Africa.
Born in Roehampton, south West London, Malan grew up in South Africa, made his first-class debut for Boland and played second-team cricket for Middlesex and Worcestershire.
Now aged 32, he has scored 25 first-class centuries with a best of 199 against Derbyshire in late June of this year.
Malan has topped 1,000 first-class runs in an English summer on three occasions (2010, 2014 and 2019).
In the summer just gone, he was one of seven batsmen to reach 1,000 runs in both divisions of the Specsavers County Championship (1,005 runs at 47.85 with four centuries).
An easy on the eye watch against the red ball, Malan, whose nickname is AC (think Italian football!), bowls some useful leg-spin and has taken just over 120 career wickets across the various formats.
Malan, appointed Middlesex’s T20 captain in 2016, is currently in England’s T20 squad touring New Zealand in a five-match series.
Having batted at four in their Championship team, he has opened in T20 and has a power game which led him to 490 Vitality Blast runs in 2019 – the third best haul in the competition. A strike rate of 147.59 was approximately 20 runs better than his career strike-rate in that format.
Malan first caught the attention by scoring a stunning T20 century in quarter-final win over Lancashire in 2008, with the visiting attack including Andrew Flintoff, Dominic Cork, Glen Chapple and Sajid Mahmood.
He made his international debut in a T20 clash with South Africa at Cardiff in June 2017, smashing 78 off 44 balls from number three in a convincing win.
He has also played some domestic T20 cricket abroad in countries such as South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
A Test debutant against South Africa at the Oval in July 2017, Malan played in the famous West Indies victory at Emerald Headingley later in the summer when Shai Hope scored twin centuries.
He then toured Australia for the Ashes later that year and, batting at number five, he posted scores of 56, 140 and 62 across the five matches as England were beaten 4-0. His century came at the WACA in Perth.
Malan played the early stages of the following summer, including another Headingley appearance against Pakistan, but was subsequently left out as England searched for a settled batting line-up – something which they are still doing now.
Malan has played six Championship games against Yorkshire, scoring one hundred and one fifty.
The century – 116 – came in the second innings of the title decider at Lord’s in 2016, with part of that innings coming as Yorkshire fed the hosts runs to set up a fourth afternoon/evening run chase. He was dismissed by Alex Lees.
Returning to Gale’s comment about quality and available batsmen not falling off trees this winter, everybody connected with the White Rose will now be hoping our new recruit starts pulling up trees!