DAWID MALAN believes seven wins from 14 North Group games would put Yorkshire on course for their maiden title in the Vitality Blast.

Malan is available when the Vikings bid for the first of those victories against Birmingham Bears in the 2021 opener at Emerald Headingley on Thursday evening (6.30pm).

The world’s number one T20 batsman will play in the first five games before England duty and is in a buoyant mood on the back of a majestic 199 in Yorkshire’s Championship win over Sussex at the weekend.

It was his first county appearance of the summer having only recently returned from Indian Premier League duty with Punjab Kings.

“You usually need to win around seven games to qualify, so there’s no need to panic if you don’t get off to a good start,” said the 33-year-old.

“But hopefully myself, Jonny (Bairstow) and Rash (Adil Rashid) can put in some match-winning performances for those first five games to get us off to a good start.

“The team we have for the first five games is very strong - not that we don’t have strength when the international stuff starts and lads aren’t available.

“The likes of Jonny and Rash are proven match-winners. And there’s a good feel around.

“Missing Dave Willey for the majority of games last year wasn’t ideal for the team’s development. But he looks like he’s going to play all the games.

“That is very important as captain.”

The left-hander’s first taste of the IPL was mixed.

While he only played one game for Punjab, a team boasting the likes of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, he was able to train a lot and advance his game.

However, having been been in India with England prior to the start of the competition in early April, the former Middlesex captain has admitted to some off-field challenges.

“When you just go to train and not play much, it gives you the chance to speak to different coaches and face different types of bowling,” he said.

“From a learning point of view, that was fantastic.

“It was a long time away in the bubble, and this side of the England tour there I would say I was starting to feel a little bit of bubble fatigue. I found that tough.

“But you go to the IPL to learn. You want to play, obviously, but I still feel like I’ve taken a lot away from that experience.

“I got to work with Andy Flower for five weeks, Anil Kumble and some of the local Indian players, who are fantastic in their own conditions.”