Dawid Malan has questioned the logic behind the new 100-ball competition set to launch in 2020.
The England batsman, who is available for the start of Middlesex’s Vitality Blast campaign this week after missing out on the squad for the T20 internationals against Australia and India, believes a franchise model is the way forward.
However, he is not sure why the England & Wales Cricket Board have deviated from the proven success of T20 cricket.
“If the rest of the world keep playing T20 cricket and there’s a T20 world cup, I can’t really see how 100-ball cricket is going to take over all T20 around the world,” Malan said.
“I think it’s a good initiative from the ECB to bring a franchise system in, but I still think T20 is your key and what everyone associates with.
“It’s not to say that it won’t work but the T20 tournament for me is the one that will be recognised around the world, that all the players will play, you’ll be selected to play internationally in T20 cricket, and I can’t see 100-ball cricket having a place if I’m honest.”
Middlesex start their Blast campaign with a London derby against Surrey at Lord’s this Thursday.
And for Malan a variation on the current T20 tournament would be the best way forward.
“Everyone still wants the T20,” he said. “I think that is from a players’ point of view. We’ve always wanted a franchise system, and we feel that our standard is really diluted having 18 counties.
“So if that was 12, or ten or eight, whatever it was, we always wanted to dilute it and get as few teams as we can, with stronger players, or with the best players playing so the standard improves because at the end of the day you want your domestic cricket to be as tough as it can be to mirror international cricket.
“The big thing that’s come out is the unknown, no one knows what’s happening with this 100-ball thing, and that’s the issue. Everyone is unsure about what’s happening and where we’re at.
“I still think talking to all our players now that everyone still wants to play T20 cricket, whether it’s domestically, internationally, IPL, the Vitality T20 Blast. Whatever it is everyone wants to play T20 cricket.”
It’s no wonder the format remains close to Malan’s heart given he made his international breakthrough in a T20 against South Africa in Cardiff last summer, when he hit 78 on debut.
And he believes a schooling in T20 is the best preparation for young players to cope with the pressures of being an England player.
“I think one of the major things in international cricket is to learn how to handle pressure,” he said. “You’ve got to deal with the pressure and T20 teaches you that you have to be able to handle pressure.
“If you’re out there and chasing ten an over and you can’t handle the pressure you’re never going to win a game of cricket for your country and you’re never going to get close.
“If you can handle those pressures and be able to go out there and express yourself while you’re being judged, while you’re definitely being looked at and broken apart in every aspect, it gives you that opportunity and gives you that mental strength you need to succeed at Test level.
“Obviously, for Test cricket you need to have a basic technique and temperament, and a will to bat long and to score runs, but I think once you can deal with those pressures in T20 cricket and the expectations I think in certain situations, it helps you move forward in the longer format.”
Malan’s Test career got off to a difficult start last summer against South Africa before he came of age during the Ashes series in Australia, where he hit his maiden century in Perth and averaged 42.55 overall.
His place will be scrutinised this summer, though, in the five Tests against India after largely disappointing series against New Zealand and Pakistan.
However, he at least feels at home in the Test side now, unlike last summer.
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