"Even if he is getting hit, he should always be thinking of wickets" - Zaheer Khan on Umran Malik

New Zealand v India - 1st ODI
Umran Malik made his ODI debut in the recently concluded series against New Zealand.

Zaheer Khan wants Umran Malik to always think about being a wicket-taking bowler even if he proves slightly expensive in the bargain.

Umran picked up three wickets in the two matches he bowled in the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand. Shardul Thakur, who accounted for a solitary dismissal, was the only other Indian bowler to bag a wicket in the rain-truncated series.

During a discussion on Prime Video, Zaheer Khan was asked about his thoughts on Umran Malik's performances in his debut ODI series. He responded:

"What is important is his intent. His intent and body language have to be always that even if he is getting hit, he should always be thinking of wickets because if he is in that strike rate zone of taking two-three wickets every game, then that is going to be the X-factor for him."

The former Indian pacer wants the speedster to clearly understand the role he would be expected to play, elaborating:

"As a bowler, you need to understand your strengths and you need to keep on backing them. You should understand what kind of role you are playing. So I think for the Indian team it would be a good addition if he is developing into that sort of a bowler."

Umran is primarily considered a wicket-taking weapon in the middle overs. He is expected to ruffle batters with his pace and provide much-needed venom to the attack.

"He has shown good control as well" - Zaheer Khan on Umran Malik's standout feature

Umran Malik had an economy rate of 6.46 in the 15 overs he bowled.
Umran Malik had an economy rate of 6.46 in the 15 overs he bowled.

Zaheer also highlighted that Umran was not wayward despite bowling at a rapid pace. He observed:

"He has shown good control as well, that's something which was a standout. He is someone who can bowl long spells as well but what impressed me was the fact that he was able to control his line without really compromising on pace. That is very important for him."

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer should not look to be defensive, stating:

"The pace is something which he has to carry along, there is no doubt it. Playing at the international level, he shouldn't get confused about not leaking runs and having that very methodical approach. He should just back himself all the time."

Umran Malik is not part of the Indian squad for the ODI series against Bangladesh. The Jammu and Kashmir pacer, who has played just six first-class matches, will want to put forth his case for India's Test side with excellent performances in the Ranji Trophy, starting on December 13.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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