England assistant coach Paul Collingwood has lent his full support to the misfiring Dawid Malan and has asserted that the southpaw is an exceptional cricketer who happens to be going through a lean run. Malan is in the midst of a torrid series, having been dismissed under thirty thrice.
After Dawid Malan played yet another team-hurting knock in the fourth T20I, where he amassed just 14 runs off 17 balls, questions arose once again, asking if the southpaw fit into England’s ultra-aggressive batting line-up. Notorious for his high-risk approach - where he starts off extremely slowly before catching up after getting his eye in - Malan enjoyed a remarkable T20I career prior to the start of the India series, registering 10 fifty-plus scores in 19 innings. But the southpaw's failure to be flexible with his gameplan has seen many call for axing, despite him still being the number one ranked batsman in the world.
However, ahead of the 5th T20I on Saturday, England assistant coach Paul Collingwood was quick to diffuse the situation. Addressing the media, Collingwood insisted that he and the English management have full faith in Malan and claimed that the 33-year-old is a world-class customer whose achievements are ‘no fluke’.
"Dawid hasn't quite found his rhythm on this tour but you've got to remember where he is in the world rankings and that's no fluke," Collingwood told reporters on Friday.
"What he's done with an England shirt on in T20 cricket has been pretty much exceptional up until this series. He'll be the first person to say it hasn't gone quite as well as he'd like in the first four games, but he's got an opportunity again to do something special [on Saturday].
"He has been unbelievably consistent, to the point where you know fine well once he gets in he will go on and get a big score. Sometimes it only takes one shot that comes out of the middle of the bat that gets you going again - we have all been there.”
Talks of Malan’s axing being an inevitability have existed within the media for months now, but England have, thus far, showed no signs that they want to move on from the experienced southpaw. Collingwood said that England, post 2015, have taken pride in backing their cricketers and attested that it is important for players to know that they have the full support of the captain, coaches and the support staff.
"One thing this team has done so well in the past four years, this new era of white-ball cricket, is back their cricketers.
"As a player, you need the security of knowing you're not going to get dropped after a couple of games, because we do ask a lot of them. They go out there and are expected to score at strike-rates of up to 140. If you look at his record, Dawid does exactly that for us,” Collingwood said.
After having the game under their control in the 15-over mark in the chase, England collapsed in the final five overs of the fourth T20I to let slip an opportunity to seal the series. Collingwood stated that the Three Lions will treat Saturday’s encounter like a final, and added that beating India in India will be a huge confidence-booster for a side that has been on a steady upward trajectory in the past few months.
"It's like a final for us; two fantastic sides going head to head, who are in good form and playing some good cricket. It's a huge game and both teams know it.
"Coming away from India with a series win should be a huge incentive, it is one of the toughest places to come in the world.
"It would be a great confidence booster for all of the players, to play against such a high-quality side in their own backyard and to win the series. There is a lot of excitement around to have the chance to do it,” said the England assistant coach.