Stand-in skipper Jos Buttler cited record-breaking debutant Dawid Malan as a prime of example of why England have a bright limited-overs future after their series-clinching Twenty20 victory over South Africa at Cardiff.
In scoring 78, Middlesex left-hander Malan made the highest ever score by an England player on his T20 debut and was the major contributor as the hosts chalked up 181-8 from their 20 overs.
South Africa could only muster 162-7 in reply to lose by 19 runs as Chris Jordan claimed 3-31 and Surrey’s Tom Curran, in only his second international match, 2-22.
England went into the three-match series, which they won 2-1, with five uncapped players, with Malan, Curran and leg-spinner Mason Crane, in particular, all doing their chances of a future call-up no harm at all.
“Depth is huge if you are going to become a really good side,” said Buttler, who took the captaincy reins after regular skipper Eoin Morgan sat out the series finale.
“If you look around the world at all the best teams in cricket over the years, they’ve always had fantastic players not playing. Those great Australian sides had guys who could have played 50 or 100 Tests for another nation.
“Dawid showed by that performance that there are some good players really knocking on the door. It was a fantastic knock. It’s not an easy thing to do, but he showed great composure on a wicket which he made look a lot easier than it was.
“He looked as if he was playing his 50th game as opposed to his first.”
Having had to wait for his chance at senior England level, Malan, who turns 30 in September, made up for lost time as he struck 12 fours and two sixes in his 44-ball knock, while also sharing a 105-run stand with Alex Hales.
Returning to the scene of their Champions Trophy semi-final defeat to Pakistan earlier this month, opener Hales was dismissed for 36 and Buttler 31 as England lost five wickets for 16 runs as they pursued added impetus at the end of their innings.
By the time Malan had caught South Africa opener JJ Smuts off the bowling of Liam Plunkett for 29, however, the Proteas were 59-3 inside the 10th over with a difficult looking run-rate to negotiate.
Rookie slow bowler Crane, 20, then claimed the prize wicket of skipper AB de Villiers, caught on the boundary by Hales for 35, while a quick-fire 36 from Mangaliso Mosehle, their remaing hope, was brought to an end by Curran.