Pieter Malan leaves Middlesex early to re-join South African side Boland

Middlesex are in a three-way relegation battle with Kent and Northamptonshire in the County Championship Division One tournament.

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Pieter Malan
Pieter Malan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

South African batter Pieter Malan is returning home as Middlesex are looking for an overseas replacement for their remaining fixtures in Division One County Championship. Malan has returned to South Africa to link up with domestic side Boland.

Meanwhile, it has been a disastrous season thus far for Middlesex with disappointing performances in the T20 Blast, the One Day Cup, as well as the County Championship Division One tournament. They finished last in the South group in the T20 Blast and No. 7 in Group A in the One Day Cup.

In the red-ball tournament, Middlesex are placed precariously at No. 8 in the points table with four crucial games to go. They are involved in a relegation battle with Kent and Northamptonshire. Malan has been in poor form for Middlesex and that added to the team's woes. The 34-year-old, who has played three Tests for the Proteas, managed 221 runs at a paltry average of 14.73 across his eight Championship fixtures. He scored two half-centuries but also registered five ducks in the season. Prior to the completion of the season, Malan 

"Malan would be the first to admit that this season has been a struggle for him on the field. It most certainly isn't through lack of effort and hard work on his part… however, sometimes things just don't work out," Middlesex's director of cricket Alan Coleman was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "[We are] now looking for a replacement to feature in the run-in to the end of the season, with four crucial County Championship matches remaining."

It is important to note that Malan didn't play a single match in the One Day Cup as younger players were backed ahead of him. In the T20 Blast, he had a topsy-turvy campaign as he finished with 206 runs at a strike rate of 137.33.

Middlesex will resume their County Championship campaign when they face Essex on September 3 in Chelmsford. Essex have been in superb form this season with six wins in 11 games in the red-ball tournament with 166 points. They are placed at No. 2 on the points table behind Surrey. Middlesex will have their task cut out against the formidable Essex side as they do not have much room for slip-ups.

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