Eoin Morgan on Yorkshire star Dawid Malan’s T20 future with England

England's Dawid Malan strikes the ball for six against Pakistan at Old Trafford.England's Dawid Malan strikes the ball for six against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
England's Dawid Malan strikes the ball for six against Pakistan at Old Trafford.
Eoin Morgan says he feels as comfortable at the crease as he ever has done after starring in England’s five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 international at Emirates Old Trafford.

The England captain struck a belligerent 66 from 33 balls as Pakistan’s 195-4 was overhauled with five balls to spare, putting the hosts 1-0 up in the series ahead of Tuesday’s final match.

Morgan is averaging 48.4 with a strike-rate of 174.1 in the 14 T20s he has played for England since the start of last year, and the Irishman put his form down to the security he feels in his role.

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“Even before the series started, within T20 cricket in the last two years in internationals and some domestic are my best numbers to date which is great,” Morgan said.

“If I can combine a little bit of that with experience that will go a long way – certainly when I’m moving up and down the order between four and six – to try to win a game.

“Before I became captain, jumping up and down the order I didn’t feel that comfortable with it, but now that it’s my decision I feel more at ease.”

Dawid Malan played an important supporting role in a 112-run stand with Morgan, who was dismissed with 18 still required from the final three overs, after an opening stand of 66 from Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton.

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Malan registered his seventh 50-plus score in 12 T20 international innings and hit the winning runs to finish unbeaten on 54 from 36 balls, but his place in the side is far from assured.

England have an enviable array of top-order batsmen a year out from the T20 World Cup in India, and Jos Buttler could be among several Test stars who return for the sprint format series against Australia which starts next week.

Asked whether Malan may have to adapt to batting lower down than where he is accustomed to in order to be in the squad in future, Morgan responded: “Realistically for your spare batters in a squad you need your top-three covered and then the other batter is an all-rounder.

“They might be a spinning or seaming all-rounder. That presents a challenge itself.

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“The options we have with Jos at the top of the order at the moment is to play around and alternate if need be – if that formula doesn’t work – which brings top-order players back in the frame.”

England’s selectors were meeting on Sunday evening to discuss the squads for the limited-overs series against Australia, with three T20s followed by three one-day internationals next month.

Pacemen Jofra Archer and Mark Wood may join Buttler in the T20 squad, and the trio potentially subjecting themselves to the ‘bio-secure’ protocols so soon after escaping the bubble is a source of pride for Morgan.

“There’s a chance some of them will back which would be great,” Morgan said.

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“Guys do enjoy playing the white-ball set-up so the fact that some of them want to come back and play is great particularly after being in the bio-secure environment for so long.”

Morgan gave no indication about whether Joe Root would return to the T20 set-up. The Test captain made 64 off 40 balls for Yorkshire in the Vitality Blast on Sunday but he has not featured in a T20 for England since May 2019.

Babar Azam set the tone after England won the toss, dispatching a Saqib Mahmood bouncer for four through mid-wicket and, though Morgan juggled his bowlers early on, the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman and Fakhar Zaman were untroubled.

After Pakistan raced to 51 without loss in the powerplay, Fakhar cut loose off Adil Rashid, who had his revenge two balls after being thrashed for six when the batsman attempted to repeat the trick only to hole out to long-on.

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Fakhar’s downfall for 36 off 22 balls in a 72-run opening stand failed to stem the flow of runs, Babar moving to a 37-ball fifty with back-to-back fours either side of the wicket off Rashid, while Hafeez went past 2,000 T20 international runs by hitting Mahmood over deep square-leg for six.

Babar tamely clubbed Rashid to deep mid-wicket as England looked to wrestle some of the initiative back, but Hafeez accelerated with two maximums in a Tom Curran over that yielded 23 runs.

Shoaib Malik drilled Chris Jordan’s attempted yorker to Morgan at cover for 14 but Hafeez moved to a 26-ball fifty with a fine scoop for four after Mahmood had over-pitched. Morgan dropped a difficult chance to reprieve Hafeez on 65 but the England captain held on in a final over where Curran conceded seven to keep Pakistan under 200.

Bairstow was the aggressor in England’s reply, driving authoritatively for successive fours off Shaheen Shah Afridi while fellow left-arm quick Mohammad Amir was twice pulled over the boundary as England reached 65 without loss after six overs.

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However, England’s openers departed off successive Shadab Khan deliveries, Bairstow the first to go for 44 off 24 balls as he top-edged a sweep high to square-leg while Banton was lbw for 20.

But Morgan and Malan came together to push England towards victory.

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