“The control over line and length wasn’t seen at all in the first spell”

Irfan Pathan has criticized Umran Malik for failing in the second ODI between India and Sri Lanka on Thursday 12th April.

Umran took two wickets but conceded 48 runs in his seven overs as the Men in Blue outplayed the Lankan Lions for 215 after Dasun Shanaka opted to bat first. The hosts chased the goal with four wickets and 40 deliveries to seal the three-game streak ahead of the final game in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday 15 January.

During a discussion on Star Sports, Pathan was asked for his thoughts on Umran Malik’s spell, considering his mentee turned out to be a little expensive despite catching a few wickets, to which he replied:

“The first round was disappointing. The control of line and length wasn’t seen at all in the first section, which was much better in the last game. He was trying to bowl there (in the first game) in a good area, the truer the pitch, the more you have to try to bowl in an area.”

However, the former Indian all-rounder insisted that the Jammu and Kashmir speedster shouldn’t compromise on his pace in order to improve his line and distance, stating:

“I’m not saying Umran Malik just has to throw the ball in the right areas because his main strength is pace. It shouldn’t deviate from the pace at all. He regularly has to bowl at 145-150 km/h, but with that he has to regularly challenge himself to bowl lengths on the stumps towards mid-thigh.

My only advice to Umran Malik would be, “Don’t listen to anyone, just keep bowling” – Gautam Gambhir #INDvSL

Umran went wicketless and conceded 30 runs in the first three overs he bowled. Kusal Mendis and Nuwanidu Fernando smashed him for three fours and a six, forcing Rohit Sharma to take his batting weapon out of the attack.

Irfan Pathan on Umran Malik’s potential for improvement

Umran Malik fired Wanindu Hasaranga and Chamika Karunaratne. [P/C: BCCI]
Umran Malik fired Wanindu Hasaranga and Chamika Karunaratne. [P/C: BCCI]

Pathan believes Umran has his radar set as he rolls around the wickets to the left-handers, stating:

“His biggest mark is that when he rolls around the wicket to the left-handed batters, you’re always going to feel like he’s not giving space because that angle comes in and the batters bowl after they hit the inside edge by tensing up.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator believes the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer will become a better bowler once he creates a similar angle to the right-handers, stating:

“That means they are beaten by pace and therefore angle. It will be very good if he brings the same angle to right-handers over time. A work in progress but definitely in the right direction because he’s picking up wickets regularly.”

Umran has taken 12 wickets in seven ODIs at a reasonable savings rate of 6.31. He has only caught one wicketless in the 12 innings he has played on the international stage, scoring just a single over in his T20I debut against Ireland.

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Edited by Sai Krishna

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