Dawid Malan has responded to England captain Eoin Morgan’s criticism of his failure to attempt a last-ball bye in a T20I against New Zealand, explaining that his error was down to a lack of “game awareness” rather than selfishness.
The incident occurred during the fourth T20I of the series played between the sides in late 2019, with Malan, 103 not out having hit the fastest T20I century by an Englishman, turning his back on the striker Sam Billings as he was called through for a bye on the final ball of England’s innings.
Though Malan won plaudits for his record-breaking knock, Morgan was concerned that it demonstrated the left-hander not striving towards a “common goal”. “I think giving guys that common goal and watching them strive towards it is the biggest indicator,” he said. “If we get guys that are not running off the last ball of the game because they want to get a not out, there’s something to address.”
Malan has now explained how the failure to attempt a last-ball bye was down to him mistakenly thinking there was one over left to be bowled, rather than wanting to preserve an average-boosting not out.
“I was so focused that I didn’t even know that was the last ball,” he told Wisden Cricket Monthly. “I’d asked Tim Southee if I could get some fresh gloves the ball before and he gave me the filthiest of looks, thinking that I was ‘giving it massive’. I think the only mistake I made was not having the game awareness to realise it was the last ball. I thought there was another over left, so I take the criticism for that.”
Malan went on to criticise the media for twisting the situation to give an unflattering impression of him.
“I think the disappointing thing about all that is how the media have jumped onto it and suddenly painted me as something that I’m not; that I’m difficult and hard to manage, that I’m this and I’m that. It’s quite tough how the media have formulated something out of absolutely nothing.”