County Championship: New Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan keen to foster strong team spirit

Dawid Malan in batting action for Middlesex (pic: John Walton/PA)

Dawid Malan in batting action for Middlesex (pic: John Walton/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

England international to captain Middlesex in all formats this season

First impressions suggest new Middlesex captain Dawid Malan has wasted no time getting on message.

The England left-hander was named Middlesex skipper in all formats last month at the end of a long winter for the Lord’s tenants, nursing relegation bruises.

Such was the post-mortem of the 2016 champions’ fall from grace, director of cricket Angus Fraser noted in a brutal annual review: “Were we as a club hungry, humble and harmonious? Sadly, I would have to say no.”

No surprise then, Malan had all three H’s in his ‘manifesto.’

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Speaking prior to re-joining the England squad in New Zealand, the 30-year-old put great store in man-management.

Rhetoric about sweeping back to the top tier was noticeably absent.

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His thirst to foster harmony is born not out of any 2017 scenario, but dark days a decade ago, when as a youngster breaking into the Middlesex ranks there was anything but.

An ‘every man for himself’ culture prevailed, breeding self-doubt in a player who’d hit a first-class century for the county in his debut season in 2008.

Older and wiser now he’s determined such a culture won’t fester on his watch.

“When you feel you have to fight for yourself in every situation, it can make you introspective,” he said.

“The biggest thing is to be able to get players to follow you and to play for you. You need to be open and honest, firm when you need to be. Captaincy isn’t a dictatorship. You have to be concerned about how you manage people as every player likes to be spoken to differently.”

Humility ran harmony a close second, Roehampton-born Malan reasoning his side have been absent from Division Two sufficiently long that respect needs to be given and research undertaken on players and pitches alike.

“Division Two cricket is a bit of an unknown to us at the moment,” he said. “We have not played the likes of Derbyshire and Leicestershire for a few years. So, you can’t just rock up like perhaps you do at Taunton or the Oval where you know in advance how the wicket is going to play.

“There are plenty of Division Two players we don’t know too much about, so we have some homework to do.”

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