Umran Malik is set to be the talk of the town should he be selected for India’

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Umran Malik Indian cricketer

Umran Malik is an extremely speedy bowling “gem” who has caused “anxiety” for all sorts of batters. He is prepared to represent India. This is the opinion from Daniel Vettori and Chris Lynn, ESPNcricinfo experts, who are of the opinion that Malik’s speed is able to make a difference at international levels and he ought to be swiftly incorporated to India’s team to play in the T20 World Cup later this year.

According to Lynn her, the buoyant and fast-paced nature of the pitches in Australia in which is where the T20 World Cup will be held in the coming year, would fit Malik. Malik, the Jammu & Kashmir seamer debuted with Sunrisers Hyderabad towards the end of IPL 2021. He immediately shook batters and amazed Indian selectors who included Umran Malik to the net bowling team to the 2021 T20 World Cup which was held in the UAE.

Lynn believes Umran Malik is now fit to join the team.

“From an outside perspective, absolutely,” Lynn said on T20 Time Out following Malik’s first five-for defeated Gujarat Titans’ batting, before Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan created their own magic to surprise Sunrisers in their home at the Wankhede stadium. “I will take into account that the wickets in Australia and it to be a bit more youthful and the fact that players haven’t had the chance to play against it. There’s always someone who you leave out because it’s an incredible [bowling] lineup, but I would like to see him playing in the World Cup. He’s sure to make waves across the globe when he gets an opportunity on the international stage. It’s a blessing that I’m not a selection officer to India.”

Malik’s five-for 25 is second best among any non-capped Indian bowler of the IPL. As per ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats, his five wickets were worth more than eight as well as his bowling efficiency at 166.64 is the highest for a bowler during the course of an IPL match.

Raw pace is Malik’s main weapon since he is consistently delivering speeds of 145 kph or more, even frequent crossing the 150-barrier. This kind of speed, as Vettori stated isn’t often seen which makes each ball an exciting event.

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“That speed creates anxiety in batters, not only tailenders. It’s the entire batters’ team,” Vettori said. “We rarely observe bowlers achieving the 150-150 mark. It’s an incredible pace, it’s rare and hasn’t witnessed frequently since the likes Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar or Shaun Tait. That’s an integral aspect of the game right now. There is a thrill and excitement, which brings a touch of the X-factor.”

Highest bowling impact in an IPL match, April 27, 2022
image ESPNcricinfo Ltd

In the initial matches of the IPL, Umran Malik was utilised in the powerplay, where Malik erred on the lengths and scored runs. The Sunrisers have changed their strategy quickly and began using Malik exclusively during the mid-overs (7-16) in which batting teams are beginning to tilt the balance. However, Sunrisers haven’t demanded Malik to sacrifice his speed. With the assistance of Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson, who has put up smart fields that include two fielders who are virtually right behind the keeper, who pouch top edges Malik is gradually becoming more precise. The previous day, Malik displayed his bowling ability against Titans captain Hardik Pandya.

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In the first match of the season Hardik was hit with the helmet’s with the ball first by Umran Malik. Pandya was able to snuff out Malik’s Titans’ physio, and then responded to Malik’s aggressiveness with similarly fierce hitting. 

In the past, Malik got carried away pitching shorter and fuller. On Wednesday, however, Malik again roughed up Pandya by delivering a pitch that was short of length which landed the Titans captain across the shoulder. Then, Pandya again sent back the physio hurrying into. The next ball went into the slot, and Pandya was able to time well for an impressive four. Then, Malik would return to test Pandya’s ego by throwing the ball short, and then sucking Pandya into playing the pull, which was easily caught by an excellent third man. Already sending Shubman Gill’s stumps into the air, Malik would be having fun playing with the rest the Titans the batting order.

A more intelligent and precise Malik, Lynn said, is a risk for batters. “The the fact that he’s learning fast also is (what) surprised me more than anything else. He’s always had the raw speed but it’s all about the cricket IQ, which is growing with every game, and he’s amazing.”

According to Vettori that the Indian team’s management as well with the selectors of national teams have to manage quickly Umran Malik to ensure his singular talent.

“Potentially. It could be the best option for him to be to the protective umbrellas of BCCI as well as the NCA and having them control his workload, as there is a tendency for a bowler of this speed to continue to bowl. I’m thinking about the conversation I had about Shane Bond Shane Bond and the fact that he believed the more bowls you took, the slower you would become.

“In this subcontinent you’re employed as net bowler, you go on tours, and so on. This means that the load can become somewhat overwhelming. This is a great idea and it’s all about what will be dealt with in the coming decades for Indian cricket, and ways to bring the most out of the player.”

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