Umran Malik has been making waves since the IPL 2022. His pace, accuracy and the fact that he picked 22 wickets, including a five-wicket haul, one four and a three wickets in an innings twice during the season got everyone talking about the young pace sensation. From the great Dale Steyn to Kevin Pietersen, people have been clamouring for his inclusion in the Indian team. Not too long after, their wish came true as the BCCI drafted Umran‘s name in India’s squad for the five-match T20I series for South Africa.
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Whether Umran will get a game, only time will tell, even though India head coach hinted that it will be tough to give the rookie pacer a place in the Playing XI, purely because there are people ahead of him waiting in the wings. Dravid stressed on the need for consistency and truth be told, it will be surprise to see Umran donning the India jersey just yet. Having said that, Umran will be in the scheme of things for the T20 World Cup later this year, and the coming 30-odd matches will decide his fate for the tournament in Australia.
Former India coach Ravi Shastri feels Umran is not yet ready to play the World Cup for India. Shastri has been very vocal of Umran’s pace and the promise shown by the youngster and has even urged the BCCI to monitor and groom him. But as far as playing the World Cup this early in his career is concerned, Shastri had a straightforward answer.
“No, not T20 as yet. Groom him. Take him along with the team. If anything, let him start playing white-ball cricket, that is 50-over cricket, maybe even red-ball cricket. Groom him in the red ball team and then see how it goes,” he told ESPNCricinfo.
Umran has played just three First-Class matches and one List-A game, to go with 22 T20 matches. With India expected to give certain berths to Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar, the likes of Harshal Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Siraj and Prasidh Krishna are already ahead in the pecking order. New Zealand great Daniel Vettori agreed with Shastri’s assessment and feels Umran shouldn’t be hurried into the World Cup.
“He should be around the Indian team all the time, even if he is not in the squad. Because I think they need to manage him. I don’t think he has leapfrogged any of the fast bowlers that are the first-choice but his time will come,” said the former NZ captain.