County Championship remains priority for new Middlesex Twenty20 captain

Middlesex's Dawid Malan bats against Essex in the 2015 NatWest T20 Blast

Middlesex's Dawid Malan bats against Essex in the 2015 NatWest T20 Blast - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dawid Malan is determined to turn around Middlesex’s Twenty20 fortunes – but he believes four-day cricket remains their main benchmark for success this season.

Malan has been appointed captain for the NatWest T20 Blast competition – in which the county have finished bottom of their group four times in the last six years.

But the 28-year-old left-hander knows Middlesex’s season – which gets under way on Sunday – will primarily be defined by whether they can build on last year’s second-place finish in the County Championship.

“I think every county gets judged on their four-day results,” said Malan. “You can win the Twenty20 but come last in the County Championship and people will say you’re under-performing.

“Four-day cricket is always going to be a massive part of every club. In 2010, we were bottom of Division Two at one point and if you look at the strides we’ve made to come second last year, it’s been a massive effort.

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“We’ve put a lot of time into four-day cricket to get there and I think the club have recognised that white-ball cricket took a back step. This winter we’ve put a lot into white-ball cricket.

“It’s a massive privilege and honour for me to be captain of Middlesex in one format – that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ll approach it with an open mind and hopefully the boys will buy into my ideas.

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“But for the next six weeks, especially, the Championship is the most important thing because it’s the only tournament we’ve got and hopefully we can have another good start, like we did last year.

“We have the players to push [champions] Yorkshire and other teams as well, it’s just about everything clicking and putting in the performances and there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”

Middlesex have split the captaincy three ways this year, with Australian star Adam Voges returning to lead the four-day team and James Franklin, who stood in for him last season, skippering the side in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Both players, along with Malan, should be part of the Middlesex line-up for their first game of the new campaign, against Warwickshire at Lord’s.

“Warwickshire are a fantastic team when they’re at full strength, with Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell and young players coming through like Sam Hain,” said Malan.

“They’ve got one of the best bowling attacks in the country, with a seriously good spinner and seamers that can bowl good pace and swing it both ways.

“It’s going to be a tough test first up, but we like playing at Lord’s, we believe we can beat every single team in the country and I think we’ve done that at some point in the last few years.”

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