Pace. It is Umran Malik's best friend. Whether it's the IPL or his India debut, it's the pace of it all that has defined Malik till now. Who would have thought that a fast bowler from Jammu & Kashmir would make his debut for India and be in the mix for the T20 World Cup down-under?
Ever since the IPL concluded, the voices that wanted Umran Malik to get in the Indian Team grew with each passing second. There were loud voices on the contrary too, but there was no ignoring the 'Jammu Express'
Umran Malik finally made his debut in the first T20 vs Ireland and became the 98th player to don the blue jersey and play the shortest format for India. However, rain played spoilsport, and the match was reduced to just 12 overs per side. Due to this, the much-anticipated debut ended with an anti-climax. Malik, for starters, bowled just an over and gave away 14 runs.
From what we saw in the first game, Umran was trying to go hard and attack the stumps. He even tried a few yorkers in the first over itself, but couldn't really land it.
Although the debut may not have gone as planned, Malik has the potency to change things around. We have seen that in the IPL many times in the past season. Hardik has made it clear that he intends to use Malik with the old ball.
With just one over under his belt, Malik did not really get a chance to showcase his abilities. We did not see him land a yorker, short ball or even a good length ball as he was just looking to attack the stumps and ball full. The Jammu Express will be raring to go in a full-fledged game, and we may see his real ability in the 2nd T20.
Earlier, veteran Indian batsman and former captain Dilip Vengsarkar felt that Umran Malik looked the best bowler in the IPL and said that he should be given a chance straight away.
"I hope so because he (Umran) is a very exciting talent. He did well in the IPL and he deserves a chance as he looked the best bowler in the format. I hope he is in the plane and I am sure he will do well if given an opportunity," Vengsarkar told reporters during the book launch of 'The 1983 World Cup Opus. He is young and raring to go. You must give an opportunity to someone who is in form. He is young, keen to play and hungry for success," added the former national chairman of selectors."
After his IPL exploits, Malik was subsequently rewarded for his consistency by earning his maiden national call-up for the T20 series against South Africa but did not get a game.
Vengsarkar's 1983 World Cup-winning teammate and former India all-rounder Roger Binny also felt that Umran should be given a chance straightaway in all three formats.
"There is definitely going to be a bigger bunch of fast bowlers coming through now. And he (Umran) should be given a chance straight away because he has proved that he is quick and if you saw him bowl some of the yorkers in the IPL that was brute force. So you cannot keep a youngster out for that long," Binny said.
Well, the voices were heard and now it's time for Malik to live up to the expectations.