Joe Root believes the recalled Dawid Malan can help bolster England’s beleaguered top-order due to his experience of playing in high-pressure situations.
The 33-year-old left-hander was added to the England squad for the third Test against India and is expected to come straight into the XI at No 3, with Haseeb Hameed moving up to open at Emerald Headingley.
Malan boasts a modest average of 27.84 in 15 Tests to date but has excelled in white-ball cricket on the international stage, as well as acquitting himself well during the 2017/18 Ashes series in Australia, scoring a century at Perth and averaging 42.55.
- Mark Wood ruled out of third Test due to shoulder injury
- Jos Buttler to miss rescheduled Indian Premier League
“Dawid would obviously offer us a lot of experience in that top three,” Root told reporters. “Not necessarily… in Test cricket but he has played a huge amount of international cricket now and dealt with pressure situations.
“He’s played a lot of red-ball cricket over the course of his career and he’s also had great success. He’s played in a massive series in Australia away and been our leading run-scorer out there, so we know that he’s capable of big things in Test match cricket.
England vs India
August 25, 2021, 10:00am
“He’s coming off the back – it’s only one score in County Championship cricket but it’s a big one (199 for Yorkshire vs Sussex) as well as some brilliant scores in high-pressure cricket in the shorter format too.”
While England will hope their batting line-up will be strengthen by the addition of Malan, they lost yet another seam bowler with the news that Mark Wood will miss the Headingley Test due to a jarred right shoulder sustained at Lord’s.
England are already without Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes due to injury and while Root admitted the situation is frustrating, particularly with the added complication of coronavirus protocols, he has had few problems with trying to remain upbeat.
“I’m playing for England and I’m playing Test cricket. It’s quite easy to stay positive in that respect, I’m living my boyhood dream,” he said.
“I’m constantly trying to remind myself of that as well, when we are having the odd tough day or things aren’t always going our way. When I was 10 years old I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do.
“Living that boyhood dream is one way you can keep motivating yourself to front up to the next challenge and the next day. I’m a cricket tragic at heart. I love the game, I love batting. Every opportunity to do that I’ll try and take.”
Craig Overton and Saqib Mahmood are vying to replace Wood in the England XI in Leeds.
It would be a Test debut for Lancashire fast bowler Mahmood and Root has no doubt that the 24-year-old is ready to make the step up if he gets the nod.
“I feel like Saqib couldn’t be in a better place to potentially play Test cricket,” he added.
“You look at how he’s progressed over the last couple of years, across all the formats. The opportunities he’s taken this year, when he’s been given them, he’s been exceptional.
“He’s been a standout bowler. He came out of that one-day series (against Pakistan) as probably the most experienced player and the go-to seamer that Ben (Stokes) went to under pressure.
“It just shows how far he’s come and it’s great to see that strength in depth and him developing as he has done over a period of time now.”
Watch day one of the third Test between England and India at Emerald Headingley from 10am, Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.
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