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Former Pakistan bowler slams Team India young gun Umran Malik

Umran Malik, Danish Kaneria, India, Ireland, Pakistan,

India’s promising speedster Umran Malik was lauded for holding his nerves and defending 16 runs in the last over against Ireland in the 2nd T20I in Dublin. However, according to former Pakistani leg spinner Danish Kaneria, Umran Malik still has a long way to go before becoming a potential mainstay of the Indian bowling attack.

India had set a target of 225 for the home side, and it came close to pulling off a historic win over India. Ireland lost the game by just four runs and gave a massive scare to Hardik Pandya‘s side. Ireland’s batters came out all guns blazing, making it very difficult for the Indian bowling attack.

The newbie held his nerve though and managed to defend 16 runs despite conceding two boundaries and a no-ball. The 22-year-old pacer from Jammu looked wayward in his first two games for India but showcased his wicket-taking abilities and hurrying the batters with his incredible pace.

The Srinagar-born tearaway bowler earned rave reviews for consistently hitting the 150 kph mark in the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 22-year-old pace sensation was impressive with the ball for the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in this season’s IPL, picking up 22 wickets at a remarkable average of 20.18 in 14 matches.

Subsequently, Umran Malik was handed his maiden national call-up for the just-concluded series against South Africa. However, head coach Rahul Dravid didn’t give him an opportunity in the five games against the Proteas. But Umran Malik eventually went on to receive his debut cap from Bhuvneshwar Kumar in Ireland.

On his YouTube channel, Danish Kaneria said, “Umran Malik bowls very fast, but he has a long way to go as he is quite wayward. He will improve as he plays more matches. It is not easy to handle the pressure of playing international cricket. Playing for an IPL franchise is different, but things are completely different in international cricket as there are a lot of eyeballs on you.”

There is a lot of interest and excitement currently surrounding the tearaway pacer from Jammu & Kashmir. Malik is generating a lot of praise from cricket fans, ex-cricketers, and commentators.

However, a word of caution has been continuously thrown in between by ex-cricketers, warning that the speedster must be groomed and managed before ushering in the grueling world of international cricket.

But captain Hardik Pandya was impressed by Umran Malik’s performance as he revealed that employing him was a tactical decision taken by him.

“(Final over) Not worried to be honest. Wanted to keep pressure out of my equation, wanted to be in the present. I backed Umran since he has pace. With his pace, its difficult for people to hit. I think we’ve come to play a game of cricket, so Ireland were going to show us what they have. Credit to them, they played amazing shots. At the same point of time, credit to our bowlers to cross the line. (Irish experience) The crowd was amazing. Their favourites boys were Dinesh and Sanju, great to see them enjoy them. Good for us to experience cricket in this part of the world too. Grateful to the fans. (New faces) Proud. As a child, it is everyone’s dream to play the country. At the same point of time, leading and getting first victory and now first series win is special. Also happy for Hooda as well, the way he batted. And Umran,” Hardik Pandya said at the post-match press conference.

Harshal Patel, the senior pacer in India’s bowling line-up was happy to see Umran Malik perform the way he did in the final over.

“We were comfortable with 225, and most times you defend it. They played good shots, wicket was a belter, outfield was fast, we made a few mistakes and they got close. But we held our nerves and finished the game. (Umran 20th over) Held his nerve, the way the game was going the momentum was with the batting unit. The way he finished was exceptional. (Ireland batters impressive?) Absolutely. Exceptional shots. We were sort of surprised the way they batted today. There’s no doubt about the quality of Irish batters, it was on show today,” Harshal Patel said.

Danish Kaneria also praised the Ireland cricket team for its monumental effort to chase India’s 225 and failing just by four runs in the last over.

“It takes courage to chase a target like 225 in T20 cricket. Ireland played with a lot of confidence and entertained us with their batting. They were up against some quality Indian bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik, Axar Patel, and Harshal Patel. These are the bowlers who have proved their mettle in the IPL,” Kaneria concluded.