‘Umran Malik will take the world by storm if selected for India’

Umran Malik is a fast bowling “gem” that causes “fear” in all types of batters and is now ready to play for India. That is the combined opinion of ESPNcricinfo pundits Daniel Vettori and Chris Lynn, who agree Malik’s scorching speed could make all the difference, even at the international level, and that he should be swiftly included in the Indian roster later this year. for the T20 World Cup.

According to Lynn, the resilient and calm nature of the fields in Australia, where this year’s T20 World Cup will be held, would be good for Malik. Making his debut for Sunrisers Hyderabad towards the end of IPL 2021, the Jammu & Kashmir Seamer immediately impressed the Indian selectors, who added him as a net bowler for the 2021 T20 World Cup, which was held in the UAE.

Lynn feels Malik is now ready to join the squad.

“Looking from the outside in, sure,” Lynn continued T20 time out after Malik’s first five-for dismantled the battle of Gujarat Titans, before Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan created their own magic to stun Sunrisers at Wankhede stadium. “I will note that the wickets here in Australia are resilient and I suppose those youth and just those guys haven’t played against it. You keep going back to whoever you drop because it’s such a formidable [bowling] line-up, but would love to see this man at the World Cup. He is going to take the world by storm if he gets a chance at international level. Fortunately I am not a selector for India.”

Malik’s marks of 5 to 25 are the second best by an uncapped Indian sailor in the IPL. According to ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats, his five wickets were worth nearly eight, and his bowling impact of 166.64 is the highest ever for a bowler in an IPL match.

Raw speed remains Malik’s weapon, as he consistently delivers speeds in excess of 90mph, including regularly crossing the 150-mph barrier. Such a fast pace, Vettori noted, is rare and turns any ball into an event.

“That pace generates fear in batters and not just batters, they’re all batters,” Vettori said. “We don’t often see bowlers getting around the 153-154 mark. That’s an exceptional pace, that’s a rarity that we haven’t seen consistently since people like [Brett] Lee, Shoaib Akhtar or Shaun Tait. So seeing that is a big part of the game now. You can see the excitement factor, it brings in a little bit of X factor.”

In the early games of this IPL Malik was used during the power play where he made a mistake and went for runs. Sunrisers quickly changed their approach and started using Malik only in the middle overs (7-16), where batting teams start to tip the balance. But Sunrisers have not asked Malik to compromise on his pace. With the help of Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson, who has put down smart fields, including two fielders standing almost directly behind the keeper to catch the top edges, Malik has steadily become more accurate. On Wednesday, he showed his bowling smarts against Titans’ captain Hardik Pandya.

In the teams’ first game this season, Hardik was hit on the helmet-first ball by Malik. Pandya chased the Titans’ physio and responded to Malik’s aggression with an equally aggressive punch. Back then, Malik got carried away by casting fuller and shorter. On Wednesday, however, Malik again roughed Pandya with a short delivery that struck the Titans skipper on the shoulder. Again Pandya sent back the physio who rushed in. The next ball was in the groove, which Pandya nicely timed for a four. Soon Malik would return to challenge Pandya’s ego by bowling short and sucking him to play a pull that was easily caught by the fine third man. After already flying Shubman Gill’s stumps, Malik would have fun with the rest of the Titans’ batting order.

A smarter and more accurate Malik, Lynn said, would be a dangerous proposition for batters. “The fact that he’s also a quick learner has probably impressed me (a bit) more than anything. He’s always had that raw pace, but it’s all about that cricket IQ developing every game now and he’s very, very impressive.”

According to Vettori, both Indian team management and national selectors need to manage Malik quickly to secure his unique talent.

“Potentially. It might be best for him to come under the BCCI or NCA umbrella, and they can handle his workload because a player of his pace might be tempted to keep bowling. I’m thinking about my conversation with Shane Bond and the fact that he thought the more you bowled, the slower you got.

“In the subcontinent you’re used to net bowling, you go on tour and that sort of thing. So the workload can get a bit much. This is a gem here and that’s how it will be looked after for years to come.” for Indian cricket and how to get the best out of him.”

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo

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