How can India stop England's man in form Dawid Malan? - Explained in numbers
- India vs England: Malan played in England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. This will be his first taste of T20 action in the sub-continent and that is a big challenge in itself.
Every contest between two teams on a cricket field has several sub-plots hidden in it. Which bowler will target which batsman, how to tackle a finisher, who will slow the run-rate down in middle overs, so on and so forth.
The biggest battle of them all is often between an in-form batsman and whom does the opposition deploy to stop him. This battle becomes far more interesting in T20 cricket because of the short span of the contest and how any wrong decision can pretty much cost the team the match.
So, when India take on England in the upcoming 5-match T20I series, the big decision that Virat Kohli will have to make is to identify the bowler who will stop the rampaging Dawid Malan. The left-hander is the world's top T20I batsman according to ICC rankings and has earned this top billing on tha back a consistent run in the format over the past 3 years.
Malan averages over 50 in the format, similar to Kohli, and hardly has a poor outing. He is at ease against pace bowling and often taken toll on the opposition during the powerplay. Malan though comes into the series after having played all of his 19 T20Is on pitches that aid pace bowling.
He has played in England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. This will be his first taste of T20 action in the sub-continent and that is a big challenge in itself.
While India might not produce rank turners for these contests but the surfaces will definitely be slower than what Malan is used to batting on.
While Malan's T20I statistics speak volumes of his prowess, there is a small bit of information that can come in handy for the Indian team management. A look at his performances against different bowler types show that Malan has a weakness against left-arm orthodox bowlers.
Not only has he been dismissed 5 times by a left-arm orthodox spin bowler, his strike rate also comes plummeting down. This clearly shows that Malan does not like a spinner who gets the ball to turn in towards the wicket.
He might be asked to slog sweep to get out of trouble but a bowler with immaculate accuracy, like Axar Patel could actually create a lot of problems for him.
Axar is coming off a hugely successful debut Test series against the same opposition and has proved to be a handful at the Motera, which is his home ground.
Virat Kohli thus will do well to pit Malan against Axar's guile early in his innings to try and get the prized scalp and put pressure on the opposition.