Former batter Aakash Chopra has opened up on a discussion he had with Pakistan legends Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis over young Indian fast bowler Umran Malik. Chopra revealed that the two former Pakistan pacers wanted to see Umran in the Indian side, but he disagreed with their views.
Umran, 22, was fast-tracked into the Indian team after an impressive Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, where he clocked speeds in excess of 150 kmph several times. The right-arm pacer was one of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) few shining lights during a disastrous campaign, claiming 22 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 20.18.
Despite his lack of first-class experience, he was handed an international debut against Ireland in Dublin earlier this year. The youngster struggled to impress on the big stage. He managed only two wickets in three matches at an average of 56 and an economy rate of 12.44 before being dropped after the England tour.
In a Q&A session on his YouTube channel, Chopra was asked if the selectors should go back to the Jammu & Kashmir fast bowler. He replied:
"A lot of people are talking about extra pace. Both Wasim bhai and Waqar bhai have been telling me, ‘woh Umran Malik ko leke aayo yaar’. I told them he is not in the scheme of things at present. According to me, you cannot field an absolute rookie in a World Cup.”
India went into the Asia Cup 2022 with only three pacers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan. Hardik Pandya was chosen as the pace-bowling all-rounder.
“Would have been better if his international debut was held back”- Aakash Chopra on Umran Malik situation
Sharing his thoughts on Umran’s axing from the Indian team, Chopra opined that he was picked prematurely in the first place. He elaborated:
“Umran Malik played a couple of games and then was dropped. I had reservations about that. Either they should have given him a longer run or should not have picked him at all in the first place. I feel it would have been better if his international debut was held back. But they played him and dropped him after a handful of games.”
Asked if Mohammed Siraj has a chance of making the T20 World Cup squad, Chopra replied:
“I don’t think Mohammed Siraj is going to be picked in T20Is and the same goes for Malik as well.”
Umran has only played four first-class matches and one list A game apart from 26 T20s.