After taking the Indian Premier League by storm with his pace, Umran Malik could be fast-tracked into the Indian team for its upcoming T20I assignments.
Former South Africa pacer Dale Steyn, who has been working with Umran over the last few weeks as the fast bowling coach of Sunrisers Hyderabad, believes that the youngster from Jammu will soon play international cricket for his country. The Indian cricket ecosystem has to nurture the promising speedster.
“Umran will play international cricket, no doubt about that. He bowls at 150kmph consistently, and nobody else is doing that in the world right now, maybe Lockie Ferguson is the other guy who does it, but they are very different bowlers. But from an Indian point of view, he is the only guy that consistently bowls over 145-150kmph every single ball, so he will play for India. But how India manages him is completely up to them,” Steyn told Sportstar on Monday.
From being a net bowler for Sunrisers in the last edition of the IPL, Umran stormed into the XI and turned heads with his pace. The Sunrisers think tank should be happy they retained the pace express for the season as he has picked up nine wickets thus far. “I think the more he plays, the more he will get better. And he is figuring his skills out there on the field. I think he is led by Kane (Williamson) well. And, we have made 100 per cent sure that there’s somebody next to him that he can have a conversation with if he finds himself in a difficult position,” Steyn said.
“So, we have tried to structure it that way he’s bowling – we have got somebody like Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) or Nattu (T. Natarajan) very close to him, like middle for mid-on, or even Kane, just so that they can speak to him if he finds himself in a difficult situation. But overall, I just think that everybody has been given the freedom to express themselves and play in the manner in which they feel is best suited to them…”
After defeats in the first two games, Sunrisers bounced back in style with back-to-back wins, with the bowlers playing a key role. “Everybody is happy. Everybody has clear roles as to what they have to do. So, clarity is great. What is fantastic is the fact that they have got a good game plan that they have put in place – they have game plan A, B and C. In case they are in trouble, they have options to get out of the trouble. And, they also have wicket-taking options, which is all you want from a bowling unit, and the rest kind of plays up,” Steyn said.
“The guys are well prepared and they are fantastic players – that’s all you can ask for. You just hope things go your way, which has been working so far…”
Sunrisers will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.