Omran MalikIndia’s omission T20 World Cup the team was met with mixed reactions. Many believe the call has come as the 22-year-old is too young for top-flight cricket, and despite his genius in the IPL, Umran still has a long way to go before he becomes a permanent fixture in Playing XI in India. And then, on the other hand, there are those who think that Umran should have been in the Indian team for his pace, which is rewarded by playing in Australian conditions.
Wasim Akram was one of Umran’s most vocal supporters. Also during the Asian Cup, Akram vouched for India’s inclusion in the World Cup squad and has now reaffirmed his stance on the matter. Recently, another legendary pacer, Brett Lee, mentioned that Umran was like ‘the best sports car‘ available in the market, but the Indian team wastes it by ‘keeping it parked in a garage’. Reacting to the same, Akram believes that Umran should have been with the Indian team in Australia and given a chance at the World Cup.
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“That’s what I said too (Brett Lee comment) when I was there during the Asian Cup. You have this fast bowler… like we have Shaheen, Naseem, Haris… they all had the pace. Now Umran has the pace too. I think in the summer against Ireland he was taken for a few runs which is good. In the T20s you are taken for runs. After that they took away. He’s playing first class cricket now. But if you got the rhythm, if he stays with you, plays with you, he’ll improve faster. He’ll choose the mindset But I think their think tank is totally different,” Akram told A-Sports.
Umran was included in India’s squad for the T20I home series against South Africa in June but didn’t get a game. He made his India debut the following month against Ireland and England but returned numbers of 0/14, 1/42 and 1/56 in all three T20Is. Umran was supposed to travel to Australia to be one of India’s bowlers, but those plans didn’t pan out due to visa issues. Back in the domestic fold, Umran is currently playing for Jammu and Kashmir in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he has bagged eight wickets in six matches so far.
Akram co-panellist Shoaib Malik, however, disagreed with his former Pakistani captain. When Malik said, “I think it’s the right move because he’s too raw. You can improve yourself by playing matches, Akram interrupted him saying, ‘Haris Rauf bhi toh raw hi aaya tha na ? (Haris Rauf was raw too when he made his debut, right?)”. And rightly so, as in less than two years, Haris has become one of Pakistan’s best fast bowlers after having landed 93 wickets in 65 limited-time matches.
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