Don't rush, groom Umran Malik through India A tours: Ex-selector MSK Prasad
Pace sensation Umran Malik is getting closer to earning the coveted India cap — some mind-blowing performances and 150+ kmph thunderbolts at the ongoing IPL have won him many fans in India and across the world. On Thursday (May 5), Malik, playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad, stunned the world again by bowling the second-fastest delivery in the history of IPL, clocking 157 kmph. Just for the record, this is also the fastest delivery of IPL 2022.
While many former cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, want the 22-year-old to be selected to the Indian team at the earliest, former chairman of the BCCI selection committee MSK Prasad has a different take, contrary to the popular opinion.
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Stating that he is enjoying every bit of Malik’s pace, ex-India wicketkeeper-batsman Prasad feels the pacer needs to be groomed and wants him to play a full season of first-class cricket in India before picking for international duty.
So far, Malik, who represents Jammu and Kashmir in domestic cricket, has played only three first-class matches. His debut came on India A tour to South Africa in November 2021 after his initiation into IPL cricket the same year.
“I feel Umran Malik should be groomed through a systematic process rather than fast-tracking into the Indian team. I know that clicking 150 kmph-plus is never easy. But if you pick him for international duty and if he doesn’t do well, he will be dejected and will be nowhere. So, a full season of domestic cricket and a couple of India A tours will help him to develop into a good bowler similar to Mohammed Siraj,” Prasad told The Federal.
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“Looking at the bigger picture, we need to groom him. He is a good talent, should be nurtured,” he opined.
Prasad, who was the chairman of the BCCI selection committee and has watched a lot of domestic and India A tours before picking players, emphasised the importance of “A” tours for youngsters like Malik.
“Siraj did exceptionally well for India A. So if Umran Malik goes on two to three India A tours, that will help him to get matured as a bowler. Siraj bowled very well in his first full Test tour to Australia. He could do that because he had gained the experience of red-ball cricket by picking close to 50 wickets for India A,” Prasad explained.
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The 47-year-old Prasad, who played six Tests and 17 ODIs, feels Indian cricket should not lose a talent like Malik by rushing him into international cricket.
“I know that very few people have that ability (to bowl 150 kmph-plus). By grooming him through a process, there are chances that he will serve Indian cricket for a longer period. At the moment, I am really enjoying watching him. Credit should be given to the Sunrisers’ Hyderabad team management because they backed him,” Prasad said.
So far, Malik has taken 15 wickets in 10 games this season.