England head white-ball coach Matthew Mott believes Dawid Malan can fight for the World Cup defense in India next year.
Malan was one of the few positives to emerge from England’s 3-0 ODI series defeat by Australia, scoring a brilliant 134 off 128 in the first game in Adelaide.
While a T20 regular, Malan has only made 12 ODI appearances but Eoin Morgan’s international retirement and Ben Stokes’ departure from the format mean there are vacancies in the top-6.
Malan, who was ruled out of the final stages of England’s T20 World Cup triumph earlier this month with a groin injury, has an ODI average of 50.55, which rises to 73.75 in third place.
He’s both made tons at first sight, which has been Joe Root’s position for a number of years, but Mott is convinced there’s room for the Yorkshire team-mates in England’s XI.
“Dawid is a top-notch player, he makes big hundreds,” Mott said. “You can build a page around how you play. I think he has gears too.
“That’s something he was really keen on making sure he doesn’t get too committed to playing that role of backbone of the innings – that he can up the ante when needed and read the game situation.
“I think he’s done that really well for us a couple of times. He will be a big part of the mix for this World Cup.”
Mott is still hoping to lure the all-rounder Stokes out of international retirement for the World Cup, which is due to start in 11 months.
But the Queenslander, 49, is happy to stick a pen in the discussion pending Stokes officiating England’s first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years.
“I’m going to leave him completely alone until at least after the Pakistan Test series,” Mott said. ‘He has a job to do over there. He’s incredibly keen to do well.
“I think it’s a massive show that hasn’t toured in this format in a while. I’ll definitely leave him alone for a while and let him get a taste of the test stuff.”
The nature of a packed schedule means Mott never had a full-strength ODI squad to choose from and several fringe players were drafted for their three games against Australia.
It was a streak that came straight on from England’s success at the T20 World Cup and those staying Down Under were exhausted, according to Mott, whose side suffered their heaviest ODI defeat in terms of runs in the last game in Melbourne – a defeat 221 runs according to the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
“It was one of the toughest streaks I’ve had to deal with as a coach,” Mott said. “Physically and mentally the players were just exhausted – you could see it in their eyes.
“You try to get everyone on their toes for most series and you don’t usually need a lot of motivation, but getting everyone on to each game here has been difficult.
“Having the fresh legs come in made a difference, I thought we persevered in all the games and showed a lot of struggle. But we were just a bit off the pace.”
England’s ODI side will reunite in South Africa in January, where fast bowler Jofra Archer could return to action after a long stint on the sidelines after suffering elbow and back injuries.
Archer has not played for England since March 2021 but is currently training alongside the Test squad with the second tier Lions in a bid to make a comeback early next year.
“I’ve been watching him like everyone else and he’s an excitement machine,” Mott added. “We wish him all the best in his recovery, it seems things are going great. We will definitely welcome him again.
“When you think about him and (Mark) Wood getting together and bowling against teams on every surface, I think that’s exciting for us.”