England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott believes Dawid Malan can elbow his way into contention for their World Cup defence in India next year.
Malan was one of the few positives to emerge from England’s 3-0 ODI series whitewash defeat against Australia, registering a sparkling 134 off 128 balls in the first match at Adelaide.
While he is a T20 regular, Malan has made just 12 ODI appearances but Eoin Morgan’s international retirement and Ben Stokes bowing out of the format presents vacancies in the top-six.
Malan, who was ruled out of the latter stages of England’s T20 World Cup triumph earlier this month because of a groin injury, averages 50.55 in ODIs but that climbs to 73.75 in ODIs at number three.
He has made both of his tons at first drop, which has been Joe Root’s position for a number of years, but Mott is convinced there is room for the Yorkshire team-mates in England’s XI.
“Dawid’s a class player, he makes big hundreds,” Mott said. “You can build a side around the way he plays. I think he’s got gears as well.
“That’s something he’s been really keen to make sure that he doesn’t get typecast too much into playing that spine of the innings role – that he can if required up the ante and read the game situation.
“I think he’s done that really well a few times for us. He’ll be a big part of the mixture for that World Cup.”
Mott still hopes to lure all-rounder Stokes out of international retirement for the World Cup, which is scheduled to start in 11 months’ time.
But the 49-year-old Queenslander is happy to put a pin in the discussion until after Stokes has captained England’s first Test tour of Pakistan in 17 years.
“I’m going to completely leave him alone until at least after the Pakistan Test series,” Mott said. “He’s got a job to do over there. He’s incredibly keen to do well.
“I think it’s a massive series having not toured for a while in that format. I’ll definitely leave him alone for a while and let him get his head in the Test stuff.”
The nature of a bulging schedule means Mott has never had a full-strength ODI squad to choose from and there were several fringe players drafted in for their three matches against Australia.
It was a series which followed hot on the heels of England’s T20 World Cup success and those who stayed on Down Under were jaded according to Mott, whose side slipped to their heaviest ODI defeat in terms of runs in the final match at Melbourne – losing by 221 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
“It was one of the toughest series as a coach that I’ve had to deal with,” Mott said. “Physically and mentally, players were just spent – you could see it in their eyes.
“You try and get everyone up and about for most series and normally you don’t need a lot of motivation but trying to get everyone up for each game here was tough going.
“Having the fresh legs coming in made a difference, I thought we hung in there in all the games and showed a lot of fight. But we were just off the pace a little bit.”
England’s ODI side will reconvene in South Africa in January, where fast bowler Jofra Archer could return to action after a long spell on the sidelines following elbow and back injuries.
Archer has not featured for England since March 2021 but is currently training alongside the Test squad with the second-string Lions, with a view to making a comeback early next year.
“I’ve watched him like everyone else and he’s an excitement machine,” Mott added. “We wish him well with his recovery, it’s been going great apparently. We’ll definitely welcome him back.
“When you think of him and (Mark) Wood getting together and bowling against teams on any surface, I think that’s exciting for us.”