Michael "Mick" Francis Malone (born 9 October 1950, Scarborough, Western Australia) is a former Australian cricketer who played in one Test and 10 ODIs from 1977 to 1982. Malone played in only one Test prior to joining World Series Cricket. In English county cricket he had a period with Lancashire. He was also an Australian rules football full-forward and played in 104 WANFL games for Subiaco.
Malone made his first class debut for Western Australia on 21 February 1975 against Victoria, in the Sheffield Shield. He took five wickets in the match getting Bob Baldry twice. In his second appearance, against New South Wales he would take seven wickets in the match, including the wicket of test star batsman and Blues captain Doug Walters. Western Australia would win the Sheffield Shield that year, Malone playing in the vital final two matches of the season. In his second season of Shield cricket (1975–76) Malone would take 28 wickets at an average of just 18.75, including two 5 wicket hauls. Only Australian test players Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Ashley Mallett and Alan Hurst took more wickets although Malone's average was superior to them all. The 1976–77 Sheffield Shield season was Malone's most productive. He finished as the competitions leading wicket taker with an amazing 40 wickets in just 8 matches at an average of just 16.12, with four 5 wicket innings.
Benefiting from his spell in England, Malone returned to Shield cricket for Western Australia for the 1979–80 season. He took 32 wickets in the expanded competition at a more modest average of 28.75, in what was a poor season for the side, they won just once, at home against whipping boys Tasmania. However his form was good enough to earn a recall to the Australia party for the tour to Pakistan.
Malone would play just two more seasons of Shield cricket for Western Australia before retiring at the end of the 1981–82, playing just twelve more matches. The 1980–81 season yielded just 14 wickets while he took 13 in his final season. Although Western Australia did win the Shield again in 1980–81.
In 1979 Malone would move to England to play as professional with Haslingden Cricket Club in the Lancashire League. Dennis Lillee had played for Haslingden in 1971. Other pros in the league at the time included Pakistani's Mudassar Nazar (Burnley), Nasim-ul-Ghani (Lowerhouse), Anwar Khan (Rishton), Mohsin Khan (Accrington) and Aftab Baloch (Todmorden), fellow Aussie Peter Sleep (East Lancashire), Indians Madan Lal (Enfield) and Rakesh Shukla (Colne). The league had a reputation as being hard with many famous overseas pros having played there (including Ian Chappell).
Malone was signed to as the second overseas player for Lancashire alongside the great Clive Lloyd replacing South African Paul Robinson. In two matches he would take a remarkable 18 wickets, including his career best of 7 for 88 against Nottinghamshire at Blackpool. He dismissed star batsmen Derek Randall and Clive Rice. In his second match for Lancashire, Malone would take 6 for 60 against Leicestershire, David Gower among his wickets.
Malone returned to Lancashire for the entire 1980 season playing 15 county championship matches. He was the county's second highest wicket-taker with 45 wickets (ave. 25.88), behind Willie Hogg who had 50 (ave. 21.16). Lancashire finished a disappointing third bottom in the table winning only four games. Malone did face the touring Australians in a three-day match but did not take a wicket.
After such a strong season Malone had to be included in the Australia touring party to England in 1977. Malone would play in his only test, the fifth, at the Kennington Oval, he had what he called his "golden moment", taking five for 63 in England's first innings with his medium-fast high action and then scoring 46 as a tailender. The match was drawn, but Australia had lost the series 3–0. The press in Australia and England blamed the hype surrounding Kerry Packer and his proposed World Series Cricket for tension within the Australian side (Malone had already signed a contract), leading to the poor performances. Malone disagrees, "The press said we were a divided side," says Malone, "but that was not the case. There were 13 of the 17 players who had signed for Packer and we all knew each other and got on, Packer and non-Packer players. The reason we lost was because we were outplayed by a better side and because Geoff Boycott was sensational." At the tail end of the tour Malone was picked for two One-Day Internationals. England won both games easily Malone taking two wickets in the first match and going wicketless in the second.
Malone had signed for World Series Cricket so was ineligible to represent Australia while the tournament ran from 1977 to 1979. After a decent season in 1979–80 he was chosen to tour Pakistan, although he did not play in any of the three tests. Malone was picked against the BCCP President's XI and Punjab Governor's XI he struggled on the slow pitches taking just one wicket and bowling few overs, as Australia relied heavlily on the spin of Ray Bright.
He was next picked for the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup, the official spin-off from WSC, against Pakistan and the West Indies in 1981–82. He would play eight times taking 9 wickets at an average of 27.88, he was also Australia's most economical bowler conceding just 3.13 runs per over.
Malone was picked in that season's Australian squad to play the West Indies for the third Test at Adelaide, replacing Terry Alderman, but was 12th man.
Malone was a peripheral figure in World Series Cricket, appearing in just one Supertest in 1979 against the West Indies at VFL Park, Melbourne. He took three wickets in the match; Clive Lloyd, Richard Austin and Viv Richards and scored seven runs. The match was drawn. He featured more in the limited overs matches. In the 1977–78 International Cup he took 4 wickets in 4 matches. The Country Cup tours provided Malone with more match time. In the 1977–78 Country Cup he played eight times taking 25 wickets at an average of just 20.76. His economy rate for that tour was a very impressive 2.78 runs per over. Malone took 3 for 62 in the 75 over Country Cup Final that the Australians lost to the World XI at Manuka Oval, Canberra.
In 1978–79 season, Malone played eight matches of the tour to New Zealand (against the World XI) taking 14 wickets (ave. 13.14), with best figures of 4 for 9 in 10 overs at Cooks Gardens, Wanganui (50 over match). Malone hoped this form would see him selected more often for the Australian XI in the lucrative Supertests and International Cup. He did play 11 matches in the International Cup taking 10 wickets. Three of those matches were in the best of four final against the West Indies. Australia lost the winner takes all series 3–1.
Malone ended World Series Cricket on the tour to the West Indies, playing in 6 limited overs matches. He took 6 wickets at an average of 27.50. The West Indies won the series 8–2. Australia lost every game that Malone played in.
Malone retired at the end of the 1981–82 season, finishing with first-class career figures of 73 matches 260 wickets at an average of 24.77. In the Australian winter he was an Australian rules football full-forward and played in 104 WANFL games for Subiaco, including their 1973 Premiership. In 1978 Malone played his 100th game for Subiaco and also topped their goalkicking with 54.47. It was his last season of pro-footy.
Malone now runs Mick Malone Real Estate based in Doubleview, Western Australia.