Despite being on the losing side, a 22-year-old Umran Malik is the talk of the town. Until 2020, the right-arm speedster wasn’t anywhere close to the Indian Premier League, only beginning his journey with the cricket ball. After being a net bowler for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Malik was promoted to the ranks mid-way during IPL 2021.
But it was only in IPL 2022, where the youngster has taken complete control over his bowling. After having a woeful start, where Umran wasn’t anywhere close to his potential, the game against Kolkata Knight Riders started the purple patch.
Since the start of the KKR encounter, the pacer has ended with figures of 2/27, 4/28, 1/13 and in the clash against Gujarat, struck five times conceding just 25. Former England spinner Graeme Swann opined that without a doubt, the 22-year-old should be on India’s plane to Australia for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
“Without a doubt, I will take Umran to Australia. Without a doubt! India have everything but they don’t have a pace bowler. Bumrah is quick but he isn’t express like Umran. Get him involved as soon as possible. He is easily good for international cricket,” Swann told Cricket.com in the post-match review.
“Umran has been quick. At the start of the IPL, he was quick but going for a few runs. When I heard Dale Steyn say ‘I have asked him to bowl first, that is his weapon’, I felt like cheering. That was amazing,” he added.
Swann also credited the youngster stating that his battle with Hardik Pandya was the one to watch from the game, applauding Umran’s efforts.
He (Umran) is that quick, he is not wild. He is very straight but he is so quick that he can get away with it. The first delivery was absolute fire, Hardik was stunned. He then bowled a rapid short delivery and got Hardik out. The quicker he bowled, he was just amazing.”
In the past, we have seen several pacers being second-best to injuries but Swann believes that playing the 22-year-old in just the shortest format won’t do him any harm.
“No, injuries won’t hurt him. Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Jofra Archer, as a fast bowler, of course you break down but Umran bowls only in T20s. It is four overs of maximum effort, I think it is the ideal number of overs for the pacer, just bowl fast and don’t think. Don’t break him in other formats, just play him in T20s.”
Gujarat's Titan efforts at Wankhede
On the clash itself, the off-spinner hailed Gujarat’s ‘Titan’ effort, stating that they have a plethora of highlight reels throughout the season. However, Swann applauded the efforts of Sunrisers during the first innings here in Wankhede.
“Gujarat have a highlight reel, I think this win was better than the Punjab one but here it was both Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan. The best was that they did not panic at all. It was unreal to watch, crazy. Ashish Nehra was cool as a cucumber, Rashid has done it twice now for Gujarat.”
“Batting first isn’t a bad thing at Wankhede. It wasn’t bad thing in the end, it took an incredible effort from Gujarat. Posting 190 batting first was slightly above par. But that incredible last over from Shashank took them over 190, it is a very tricky score to chase down.”
On the South African all-rounder Aiden Markram, Swann was of the opinion that the right-hander was worked head and shoulders over his game against spin, which has come out in perfect light this season. Alongside that, the former off-spinner also singled out Abhishek Sharma’s ‘courageous’ innings against Rashid Khan.
“Aiden Markram has been phenomenal for Sunrisers this year. I have always had a doubt on how effective he would be in India but he has proved me completely wrong. He is so strong, he absolutely smacks it. He has worked out a way against spin but he has worked so well, both Miller and Markram.”
“They got some inside knowledge on Rashid, maybe? Worst thing for a bowler is to play against his old side. He got taken to the cleaners by Abhishek Sharma, he is a classy player and he took on Rashid so well. He’s doing the job well. Kane Williamson isn’t in the greatest of nick, so it is incredible from the youngster.”