Dawid Malan says criticism hurts him but also drives him on after he struck 76 from 48 balls in England’s sweep-sealing victory over Sri Lanka in the final T201 international.
Malan – the top-ranked T20I batsman in the world – passed fifty for the 12th time in 27 T20I innings having moved from No3 to opener in Southampton with Jason Roy (hamstring) and Jos Buttler (calf) unavailable.
The 33-year-old had managed scores of seven and four in the first two T20 internationals, while there has been debate about his scoring rate early in his innings and whether he is the best fit in England’s top three for the World Cup in the subcontinent later this year.
Malan – who averages 47.39 in T20 internationals – silenced some of his doubters on Saturday, hitting a 30-ball half-century and scoring at a brisker rate than his opening partner Jonny Bairstow (51 off 41).
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Speaking after England’s 89-run victory, which earned them a 3-0 series win, Malan said: “The criticism does bother me sometimes – I think you’d be naïve if you said it didn’t – but it drives me as well.
“I like to prove a point so when I do get criticised I like going out there and proving people with those opinions wrong.
“One thing this England white-ball team has been so good at is they don’t listen to the noise.
“[Captain] Eoin [Morgan] and [coach] Chris Silverwood are fantastic backing you as a player as soon as there’s any criticism.
“Even though you know you’re 100 per cent backed it does hurt you sometimes, especially if you feel like it might not be fair.”
Saturday’s match marked just the fourth time Malan has opened in T20 internationals but has plenty of experience in that role from domestic cricket.
England vs Sri Lanka
June 29, 2021, 10:30am
The left-hander added: “I’ve always opened.
“Because I bat three for England – it was the only spot available – people think I’m a number three batter but I’m an opener. So it is back to doing what I do and what I feel comfortable with.
“I will bat wherever I need to bat. There are some unbelievable players that want to and should be opening the batting for England. I am just happy to fill in where there is a spot.”
Malan will now be hoping to play in England’s three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, which starts in Durham on Tuesday, after being drafted into the squad following Buttler’s injury.
Watch the series opener live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Tuesday.
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