IND vs NZ: 'You can either have pace or control': Zaheer Khan Gave A Big Verdict On Umran Malik's Debut
Pace sensation Umran Malik finally made his much-awaited ODI debut on Friday as the Indian cricket team took on New Zealand in the first match of the 3-match series in Auckland. Umran returned with the figures of 2/66 as he picked up the wickets of Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell as he stole the show with his impeccable fast bowling.
In his first five overs, the 23-year-old Malik had figures of 5-0-19-2 before Tom Latham took 10 runs off him in his sixth over. However, his efforts weren't enough as the Indian cricket team was defeated by New Zealand by 7 wickets to a take 1-0 lead in the ongoing series.
Malik made his debut for India earlier this year against Ireland, where he was given the responsibility to bowl the final over in one of the matches at The Village in Dublin. Following which, he played on T20I in England where he picked up the wicket of Jason Roy. However, he lost his place in the team before making a comeback in the New Zealand tour.
Though Kane Williamson and Tom Lathan took attack on the Indian bowlers, including Umran, who also leaked a few runs towards the end. However, former Indian fast bowling greats Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar were very impressed with the debut performance of Umran Malik. Both the greats urged the management to given Malik more chances even if he bowls a few expensive overs.
Speaking exclusively to broadcaster Prime Video at the end of the Indian Innings, Zaheer Khan heaped praises on Umran Malik and said:
"He was great. He started very well. And the pace which everyone has been talking about that is his strength, he backed it. Towards the latter half, there are some learnings for sure but it's just the first game for him at this level. It is about going out there, enjoying the moment and giving it all. I think he had a good debut. You can overlook the runs right now but what is important for a bowler like him, who is bowling at that kind of pace, it is the wicket-taking intent. That was good, and the body language was good too. All the little fine-tuning he will figure as he moves along in his career. But what's important is that he should back his strength and look to bowl as quick as possible. He showed decent control and should continue with that,"
"You need variety in your bowling attack. You have used different bowlers for different things. When you look at Umran, you have got to look at him as a wicket-taker. Let him flourish as a bowler who is going to be that striker of your attack. He someone who is probably not thinking about runs. He will leak runs in the process but you have got to take it in your stride and just back him to be free. That is something which is very important. You can either have really good pace or control. Till the time he is bowling quick, you have to let him be free. Just make sure you tell him... 'You see that wickets, attack those stumps',"
Ajit Agarkar also agreed with Zaheer Khan, saying that to expect both pace and accuracy from a young bowler is too much. He also praised Malik for overshadowing other bowlers in the team, including Arshdeep Singh and Shardul Thakur, by picking up two out of the three New Zealands wickets that fell. He said:
"When someone is as raw as he is, I think he had a brilliant day. I agree with Zak because he gave India the control and the wickets which kept them in the game. 306 as Shreyas said India thought they were above par but with the dimensions of the ground, when there is a set batter, it becomes difficult to stop. He got India the wickets they needed - Conway and then Mitchell - so he got India back in the game, bowled exceptionally well,"
He added: "We don't expect a young bowler, who is a tear away, to come and bowl on the right line and lengths immediately. That is what gives them the X-Factor. He was very impressive because he showed that control at the start. I think he had a terrific debut and lots to look forward to. There are lots of bowlers who can bowl line and length but very few who can get it up to 150. That's a special ability to have. You've got to nurture it and give him that confidence."