Home Sport Cricket Janneman Malan cashes in for Proteas on return to England

Janneman Malan cashes in for Proteas on return to England

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It’s been a frustrating period for the Proteas ODI opener after two deals with Leicestershire being cancelled over the past couple of seasons due to Covid-19 and a national team call-up.

Batsman Janneman Malan plays a stroke through the offside
Janneman Malan struck 103 off 116 balls in the Proteas’ opening warm-up game against the England Lions at Taunton. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Cape Town – Janneman Malan has been waiting for eight years for a return to England.

It’s been a frustrating period for the Proteas ODI opener after two deals with Leicestershire being cancelled over the past couple of seasons due to Covid-19 and a national team call-up.

He finally got his opportunity to have a taste of English conditions on Tuesday, and seemed to rather enjoy it, striking 103 off 116 balls in the Proteas’ opening warm-up game against the England Lions at Taunton.

“It was good to get some runs, a first middle scenario, and it was important for me to spend some time out there,” Malan said.

“It is all part of our build-up, it was good for the batters to spend some time in the middle, get used to the conditions. It was good to get some runs, but more importantly to spend time in the middle and get some nice time on my feet, facing different bowlers. I was last here in 2014 (with the SA Under-19s), but it was good to get some time in the middle.”

It was crucial for the likes of Malan to spend time at the crease as the 24-year-old last played a competitive match back in April for the Rocks in the CSA Domestic 1-Day Cup.

The current ICC Emerging Player of the Year is crucial to the Proteas’ chances of winning a maiden white-ball series in England, particularly with fellow top-order batter and captain Temba Bavuma being ruled out through injury, and would have taken plenty of confidence from his first hit out.

David Miller (55 not out off 36 balls) and Heinrich Klaasen (51 of 35 balls) were also in good touch, carrying their recent good form from the T20Is in India through to England. However, it was a much more taxing afternoon under the English sun for the Proteas bowling unit on a splendid Taunton batting surface.

The young Lions batters were intent to show their seniors, who were being rolled by India’s Jasprit Bumrah just three hours away down the M5 at The Oval in London, that they were ready for a call-up to the big time.

Twenty-year-old Will Smeed smashed 90 off 56 balls, Tom Banton (57 off 46), Nottinghamshire’s Ben Duckett (85 off 67) and Middlesex’s Stephen Eskinazi (52 not out off 36) to haul in the Proteas’ 319 in just 37.1 overs.

It served as a timely reminder to the Proteas that England’s all-out attack philosophy is extremely dangerous on the small county grounds.

Malan was not overly worried with the bowlers’ performances though with many still shaking off the rust, but was fully aware of the threat England’s batters pose.

“They (the Lions) fall into the brand the way England wants to play. They are part of the structures, and they buy into that blueprint. But we always saw today as a bit of a warm-up game. Time on the feet. We had a couple of rough days, some guys were still running their fitness tests in the morning.

“Their guys were obviously prepared for today, and they played well, but we saw this as a proper warm-up game, and we will be much more competitive on Thursday,” he said.

The Proteas will go again on Thursday against the England Lions, with this second match being classed an official List A encounter.

It will be the final opportunity to fine-tune preparations ahead of the first ODI next Tuesday in Durham.

@ZaahierAdams

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