Middlesex members will hope that added maturity and the security of a new four-year contract will help their mercurial batsman Dawid Malan to convert cameo knocks into match-defining innings after the left-hander signed a new deal through to the autumn of 2014.
Though he was the county’s only batsman to top 1,000 runs in the first-class game in 2010, the criticism was too often levelled toward Malan that he tossed away his wicket when well set at the crease.
But, having scored three LV= County Championship centuries last summer and having seen the 23-year-old pass 1,000 runs for the second successive season, the time seemed right for managing director Angus Fraser to offer Malan a new deal.
“I am thrilled Dawid has chosen to commit his long-term future to Middlesex,” said Fraser. “Dawid is still a young man with a huge amount of potential. He works incredibly hard and has the ability to go on to achieve great things in the game.
“Dawid wins games of cricket, as he showed last year against Sussex at Hove, Surrey at Lord’s and Glamorgan in Cardiff when he played the innings that sealed Middlesex victories.”
Fraser added: “After his spectacular Twenty20 Cup hundred against Lancashire as a 20-year-old in 2008, Dawid was tipped for immediate stardom, but cricket is not as easy as that.
“When in top form he is a delight to watch and in the past two seasons has made steady progress. I expect his batting to develop further over the coming years as he works things out for himself. Dawid has the talent to become one of Middlesex’s finest modern day batsmen.”
After signing his new deal, Malan said: “I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent at the club and feel my cricket is moving in the right direction.
“My aim is to play in a successful side and I hope to help take Middlesex back to where they were when they were dominating county cricket. I also want to play for England and hope that by playing a leading role in the club’s success I will be able to achieve that goal.”
Meanwhile, over in SE11, Surrey’s Pemberton Greenish Academy graduates Tom Lancefield and Rory Burns have both signed their first professional contracts.
The two 20-year-olds have been regulars for Banstead Cricket Club in the Surrey Championship Premier Division and appeared for Surrey age group sides for over a decade.
Lancefield, a left-handed opening batsman, has signed a one-year contract. He made his first-class debut against Bangladesh earlier this year and went on to play in seven Championship matches and make five Friends Provident t20 appearances.
Burns, a left handed batsman and wicketkeeper, was studying at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff and spent much of last season playing for the MCC Universities. He has deferred his course in order to sign a two-year contract.
Surrey’s professional cricket manager Chris Adams said: “I am confident that both Tom and Rory will prove to be excellent additions to our squad.
“Both of these guys have been involved with Surrey for over a decade in different youth teams, so for them to simultaneously graduate into our professional squad says a great deal about the strength of coaching ability we have throughout our set-up.”