Umran Malik has emerged as one of the fastest bowlers in international cricket. He recently clocked the highest speed by an Indian in international cricket history. However, the youngster is yet to master his line and length, which is why the team management has not yet given him a place in its first-choice playing XI
In the first ODI of the ongoing series against New Zealand, Umran Malik warmed the benches. Captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid fielded four pacers in the playing XI, namely Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, and Hardik Pandya.
Siraj is currently the highest-ranked Indian in the ICC ODI Rankings for bowlers. Shami has been a match-winner for India in the 50-over format, while Pandya is the best pace-bowling all-rounder in India right now.
If India want to pick Umran Malik in the playing XI, it could be at the expense of Shardul Thakur. While Thakur took the precious wicket of Michael Bracewell in the final over of the first ODI, here are three reasons why Umran Malik might replace him in the playing XI for the upcoming match.
#1 Umran Malik has the extra pace
As mentioned earlier, Umran Malik recently shattered the record for the fastest delivery bowled by an Indian in international cricket history. Some of the best batters in world cricket have struggled to play against his express pace. The Jammu Express clocks around 150kmph regularly on the speedometer.
Having an express pace bowler makes any bowling attack in the world more dangerous. Shardul Thakur's pace is right now not at the level of Malik. To dismiss tailenders, Malik's extra pace could be very useful.
Since India conceded 206 runs for the last four wickets of New Zealand's batting lineup in the first ODI, the team management might swap Thakur for Malik.
#2 Shardul Thakur has been expensive with the ball
Not many fans would know that Shardul Thakur currently has the highest economy rate among all the bowlers who have bowled in at least 30 innings in ODI cricket. After his spell of 2/54 in the last match against New Zealand, Thakur bagged the top spot on the all-time list with an economy rate of 6.24.
His economy rate has been an area of concern for the Men in Blue. Hence, they might think of picking Malik ahead of him.
#3 Shardul Thakur's batting has not made a big impact in recent matches
Some fans would argue that picking Umran Malik instead of Shardul Thakur may leave the Indian team with a long tail. Thakur's batting skills are much better than Malik. However, looking at Thakur's recent batting performances, it is clear that he has not been able to contribute much.
Thakur's last five scores in ODI cricket are 1, 2, 7, 3 & 3. India's batting lineup has enough depth with Hardik Pandya and Washington Sundar present as all-rounders. Thus, they can drop Thakur and give Malik an opportunity.
Should India drop Shardul Thakur for Malik? Share your views in the comments box below.
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