Dawid Malan underlines importance of County Championship to England’s Test side

Dawid Malan told Sky Sports News every player except for captain Joe Root will be under pressure during this season’s County Championship to prove they belong in England’s Test side

Middlesex captain Dawid Malan feels the County Championship is of “vital importance” to England’s Test players after a miserable winter.

Joe Root’s side failed to win a Test in Australia or New Zealand as they lost the Ashes 4-0 and were then beaten by the Black Caps 1-0 – their first series victory at home over England since 1983/84.

England’s next two Test series are at home to Pakistan and India, and Malan, who starred with the bat for England in the winter, believes the new County Championship season – which gets underway on Friday – can provide a springboard for a successful Test summer for England.

He told Sky Sports News: “This time of the year is obviously important especially with us going down so we’re going to have to put in a few good performances early looking forward to the Tests.

“Every innings you have in county cricket is another way to stamp your authority and stamp the fact you should be picked for that first Test series.

“I don’t think anyone is guaranteed any places – probably only Rooty is the only one guaranteed a place in the Test team at the moment, so for the rest of us, the games that we have in county cricket are of vital importance to put our name on that first Test.”

It was a different story for England’s one-day side in Australia and New Zealand, recording series wins in both countries.

Eoin Morgan says England’s bowling was the 'cornerstone of their success' during confidence-boosting ODI series victories against Australia and New Zealand last winter

Captain Eoin Morgan was delighted with their performances – especially the bowlers – as England prepare to face India, the world’s No 1 ranked ODI side, this summer in a three-match home series.

Speaking to Sky Sports News about the ODI team’s winter, Morgan said: “I think it was hugely significant. It was a massive confidence booster for us.

“I think the winter as a whole for us – winning seven out of the 10 games against two very strong sides away from home.

“What was most pleasing about it was that we actually won uncharacteristically.

“We’re known as a side that posts big scores or chases them down but the actual cornerstone of our success this winter was our bowling.

“Our bowling line-up was so consistent, so relentless alongside our two spinners – we were outstanding.”