Proteas batsman Janneman Malan happy with the blistering start to his burgeoning ODI career

SA's Janneman Malan playing a shot during the 2nd ODI match between Sri Lanka and the Proteas at R. Premadasa Stadium on September 04, 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
SA's Janneman Malan playing a shot during the 2nd ODI match between Sri Lanka and the Proteas at R. Premadasa Stadium on September 04, 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Image: Isuru Sameera Peiris-Gallo Images/Getty Images

Proteas batsman Janneman Malan is either just being humble or honestly cannot put a finger on the reasons for the blistering start to his burgeoning ODI career.

After eight one-day international innings, Malan has scored 627 runs, which includes three centuries two half centuries, and he boasts the highest score with an unbeaten 177 at an imposing average of 104.50.

He registered his third ODI centurion with a winning score of 121 off 135 in the Proteas’ 67 runs (DLS method) victory over Sri Lanka on Saturday that helped SA to level the series 1-1 with one match to go on Tuesday.

Malan was so impressive in the win over Sri Lanka that he was part of two key partnerships of 98 and 86 with Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen respectively, and he was rightfully named the player of the match.

“You don’t want to think about it too hard, you just have to break it down game by game,” he said when asked about his impressive start to his ODI career.

“I really don’t know what to make of it, but every game is about scoring runs and taking wickets and we always try to do that. I am fortunate to have such a good squad of players in the Proteas and after every match we start over and do what you have to do in the next game.”

Looking back at the win over Sri Lanka, Malan thanked his top order partner Hendricks while adding that it was a solid team performance.

“Thanks to my partner Reeza, his imput was really valuable and almost going at a run a ball. I think the batting unit batted really well in the first match against the spin, and again in this game.

“In the first game, I just watched what guys like Aiden (Markram), Rassie (Van der Dussen), and Heinrich Klaasen) did in these conditions and I learnt from their efforts in the first match.

“I don’t think our bowlers bowled too badly in the first game, I just think we underestimated how full you can go on this wicket. Credit to the bowlers in this game because we started great and they bowled really well.

“The same credit goes to the batters who also played well after the loss of Aiden and in the back end of the innings. We are in a good space at the moment and it’s always good when the team can tick on both fronts.”

The Proteas will be looking for a win in the final match on Tuesday and claim ten more ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League points, which goes towards qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.

“One of the things that helps is to have realistic goals and expectations so that we don’t have one in a thousand days. We want to have targets that we get and if we hit them we have a chance of winning the game. During the last game we are going to try to keep on polishing and polishing.”

Keshav Maharaj took over as stand-in captain after the injury to Temba Bavuma and Malan said the Dolphins spinner led from the front.

“It is sad that Temba had to leave with what happened, but Keshav has proved on the domestic front that he is a good captain. He is a leader in the group, he is a calm head and a very smart cricketer. It s good to have a guy like that leading the team and he did great and it showed on the field.”